Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 04-25-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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24 SPRING IN THE VALLEY 2019 APRIL 24-MAY 1, 2019 | THE VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER Warmer nights bring celestial sights SCITUATE – As the Earth's rota- tion brings the northern hemisphere closer to the sun each day until the summer equinox, the transition to spring also brings a new arrange- ment of constellations in the sky. Spring weather is enticing for ama- teur and professional stargazers who want spend a night out under the stars watching planets, constellations, the moon and even satellites float overhead. For the past few months, wintry conditions closed the Seagrave Memorial Observatory, located at 47 Peep Toad Road in Scituate, home of the Skyscrapers, a Rhode Island- based group and second oldest con- tinuous society of amateur astrono- mers in the U.S. As spring arrives, the Skyscrapers are opening the hatches and letting people in to once again to observe and explore outer space through a collection of four telescopes. Opened Saturdays from 8 to 10 p.m., mem- bers take turns leading discussions on the evening's observance, telling history from the stars in the sky to the lens on the 8-inch Alvan Clark Refractor, a circa-1870s telescope once owned by the observatory's namesake, Frank Seagraves. "If the weather cooperates dur- ing the scheduled public observing nights, you can expect crowds of casual stargazers patiently waiting for good views through the beautiful instruments that are available," said David Huestis, astronomy professor and Skyscraper member. Outside on a semi-circle wooden porch wrapping around the obser- vatory, Skyscraper Tom Barbish pointed a focused green laser up to the sky pointing out Orion's belt, Ursa Major and the Big Dipper on the first night of the season. "Light from any of those stars trav- eled 15,000 light years, 50,000 light years to get here, some more. Some may have died years ago and we're watching the remaining light sent down to us from light years away," Barbish said. He said he fell in love watching the stars at a young age when he was given a telescope, and hasn't stopped looking up since. The stars contain stories in constellations that have been shared since before Galileo's first telescope gave the world an up- close glimpse of the surface of the moon. Huestis, an astronomy writer and historian, said this spring will bring plenty of celestial sightseeing events. He said April is a quiet month for planet tracking, with Jupiter and Saturn appearing in the pre-dawn sky. Venus remains prominent in the sky, and will be joined by Mercury mid-month about five degrees to the lower left side of Venus. Venus is usually low on the hori- zon and is brilliant in the night sky. For another sighting without the use of a telescope, the Lyrids meteor shower is returning on the night of April 22-23. The oldest known mete- or shower, Chinese astronomers dis- covered the Lyrids in 687 B.C. The Lyrids are the debris from comet, Thatcher, which makes a 416-year orbit around the sun. By JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD Valley Breeze & Observer Staff Writer jackie@valleybreeze.com Built in 1878, the 8-inch ALVAN CLARK REFRACTOR TELESCOPE was trans- ported from its original home in Providence to the Seagrave Observatory in Scituate in 1914 seeking clearer skies. (BREEZE PHOTO BY JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD) Continues on next page SPRING SPRING SPRING CARNIVAL CARNIVAL CARNIVAL Presented by Rockwell Amusements April 26 - May 5 Rides – Games – Food Family Fun for Everyone! Like Rockwell Amusements on Facebook for more info. Like Rockwell Amusements on Facebook for more info. Storage America Storage America 558 Roosevelt Ave., Central Falls 558 Roosevelt Ave., Central Falls Visit us on Facebook for information on Visit us on Facebook for information on hours of operation and ride specials! hours of operation and ride specials! NORTH SMITHFIELD AUTO BODY, Inc. "Your One Stop Automotive Center" FULL COLLISION center Providing full repair services; from small scratches to total reconstruction PRE-OWNED CAR SALES Let us help you with an inexpensive first car or a beautiful luxury car FULL AUTOMOTIVE DETAIL CENTER Preserve the value and finish of your existing car by having it detailed and waxed at least twice a year TRUCK ACCESSORY SHOP Outfit your pick-up truck with top quality accessories including a spray-in bedliner with a lifetime warranty LIGHT MECHANICAL REPAIRS For our customers including AC servicing, tires, exhaust, windshields, brakes and cooling system repairs 24 HOUR TOWING 770 EDDIE DOWLING HIGHWAY, ROUTE 146 NORTH NORTH SMITHFIELD, RHODE ISLAND 02896 1-401-762-3866 WWW.RIAUTOBODY.COM

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