A Celestial Celebration
Published: August 22, 2013
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They've opened the windows of the galaxy through the eyes of their telescopes longer than most people have had their drivers' licenses.
The Lackawanna Astronomical Society will celebrate its 55th anniversary on Friday, Aug. 23, at 6 p.m. at the Inne of the Abingtons, 239 Kennedy Creek Road, North Abington Twp. Tickets for the event are $18 for society members. The society was formed in 1958 as an astronomy class at Scranton's Everhart Museum, where it eventually became a full-fledged club.
When a reorganization of the museum in the 1970s forced the society out of the basement, where it met for years, meetings began to be held at Keystone College's Thomas G. Cupillari Observatory, located on Hack Road in Fleetville. The society now has its own roll-off rooftop observatory on site.
Society corresponding secretary and board member John Sabia explained that the society isn't just about looking at the stars.
"The Lackawanna Astronomical Society holds many free events throughout the region," he said. "We work closely with local state parks, such as Lackawanna State Park, Promised Land State Park and Frances Slocum State Park, as well as other organizations to generate interest in amateur astronomy in Northeast Pennsylvania. We also offer an astronomy day event at the Thomas G. Cupillari Observatory and participate in First Friday in Scranton."
The society has grown to more than 100 members from its initial 20, all with the passion of astronomy. Sabia explained what astronomy is all about for those who might not quite understand what members of the Lackawanna Astronomical Society do.
"The hobby of astronomy is a study of nature, to view and learn about the bodies of our solar system, our galaxy and the universe we are a part of," he said. "Many people are drawn to this hobby by the first sighting of a meteor, the changing moon phases, an eclipse of the moon, a bright comet or simply the sight of the crescent moon by Venus in the twilight evening sky. With a telescope, you can explore and view the many star clusters, nebulae and galaxies."
Owning a telescope is not a requirement for membership in the society. Annual membership fees are $5 for a junior (age 18 and younger) membership, $10 for a regular adult membership, $15 for family membership and $20 for a contributing member. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month at the observatory at 7:30 p.m. Visit www.lackawannaastronomicalsociety.org or email Sabia at email@example.com for more information.