Rock Eagle hosts program on solar system March 17

COVINGTON -- If your mother warned you not to stare at the sun and you wonder what you've been missing, you will have the chance Saturday, March 17, to safely do just that.

The Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton is hosting its monthly "Saturday at the Rock" program for March which will feature a close-up look at the solar system by NASA-trained solar system ambassadors, as well as guest presenters from the Charlie Elliott branch of the Atlanta Astronomy Club.

"They're going to be using specialized equipment that allows them to observe the sun during the daytime," explained Matt Hammons, 4-H coordinator for the programs. "Volunteers trained by NASA will have specialists operating the equipment."

The program will include a short presentation that will discuss some of the features of the sun, as well as other occurrences such as Solar Maximum and the upcoming Venus transit against the sun which can be viewed from the earth.

This presentation will be followed by guided observation for attendees. Using white light and H-alpha telescopes, participants will examine the structure of the sun's surface, including filaments and prominences.

"This cannot be replicated at home, so take this opportunity to join us for this fascinating event," Hammons said.

In the event of rain, the show will go on, Hammons promised.

"Instead of going out and actually looking at the sun, we will be looking at slides, but our goal is to actually get out and see the sun," he said.

Hammons said the "Saturday at the Rock" programs are open to all ages.

"We have families with little kids who attend, as well as older individuals from the community. Age is really not a restriction," he said.

The cost is $5 per person and advance registration is required. The program starts at 9:30 a.m. and will include an opportunity to visit Rock Eagle's Natural History Museum. The session length is two hours.

For more information, call Hammons at 706-484-2862 or email him at mhammons@uga.edu.

Upcoming programming includes presentations on bee biology, reptiles and amphibians, macroinvertebrates, birds of prey and more. Go to www.rockeagle4h.org for more information.