Getting in Touch with the Night Sky
A student, at Greenway School in Palominas, Arizona, gets in touch with the night sky through a telescope provided by the Huachuca Astronomy Club of Southeastern Arizona. (Photo Credit: Doug Snyder)

Many people caught a glimpse of the comet that the Deep Impact mission encountered on July 4th. Soon, NASA will report their findings on this mission.

What else can you see in the night sky that NASA also studies?

NASA searches for planets around other stars. The Astronomical Society of Greater Hartford in Connecticut led a group of students and their families on a telescope tour of the night sky, showing how stars and their planets form. Club member Julian Shull relates, "One student became inspired to do a astronomy science fair project after seeing Jupiter and its moons." Maybe that student will become a NASA scientist!

NASA studies the effects black holes have on their surroundings. With hands-on demonstration materials, members of the Aldrich Astronomical Society in Phillipston, Massachusetts explained what NASA has discovered about black holes. Can you see the location of black holes in the night sky? Yes! But as club member Jim Zebrowski reported, "The sky conditions were marginal so I was a little disappointed about not being able to point out locations of possible black hole candidates but people were still impressed enough by the high quality of our talk to ask for us to return in the fall to speak in front of the entire school."

NASA scientists study the most distant galaxies to see how our universe looked billions of years ago. The Hinsdale Public Library Astronomy Club in Illinois encouraged their visitors to see telescopes as time machines. Through telescopes, observers can look at galaxies whose light has been traveling millions of years to reach us on Earth. Debra Lazar-Pearl tells how their visitors "really liked using the idea of telescopes as time machines. It is really so true and it appeals to everyone's imagination."

To directly experience the universe through telescopes and see what NASA is studying, contact a Night Sky Network club near you by clicking on the Club Directory.