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Seeing stars at Township Park

June 7, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Members of the Mahoning Valley Astronomical Society (MVAS) will be out in force on the evening of June 16 at Austintown Township Park for the Sixth Annual Bill Pearce Memorial Star Party. The event is family-friendly and a great way to introduce children to the astronomy field.

"Bill Pearce was an enthusiastic member of the society," said society member Richard Mattiussi. "He was very skilled and always wanted to get more kids involved. He passed away in December of 2012, but he would have loved this event that was started in his honor."

The MVAS boasts a membership of 60 and has been around for a long time, according to Mattiussi.

Article Photos

Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Richard Mattiussi of Austintown is getting his hybrid telescope ready for the June 16 sixth annual Bill Pearce Memorial Star Gaze event at Austintown Township Park from 9 p.m. to midnight. The event will feature members of the Mahoning Valley Astronomical Society and will be geared to families and children. Mattiusi will be at the event with his hybrid refractor-reflector telescope show here.

"It all began in 1939," he said. "The founders were mostly machinists who already had the math. They built their own high quality telescopes and some are still in use today."

Today the society meets monthly, usually at their base of operations in Braceville where they have a dome structure and several sheds used for star gazing. Members try to do things using both old and new methods. Mattiussi said some use star charts (the old way) while others work with a GPS signal (new way).

The club can also boast of some famous people who were members. Among them was the late Tom Bopp who discovered the Hale-Bopp Comet, and the late Ron Parise who was an astronaut on board the space shuttle.

While Pearce may not have made the history books like Bopp and Parise, he was well-loved and respected by many. The main reason the event is named after him was the idea he had of making astronomy a family affair.

"We are just continuing that each year at Austintown Park." Mattiussi said.

He said the set up for June 16 will have multiple stations with amateur astronomers offering views through their telescopes. The event will run from 9 p.m. to midnight behind the Pogany Pavilion.

The event will also have a partnership with the Boy and Girl Scouts. It has been arranged for scouts to earn their astronomy badge or patch, which would have been something Pearce would have wanted.

The event is totally free to the public and anyone who wants to enjoy the stars is welcome to attend. There will be many opportunities to star gaze and see what is involved in the hobby of astronomy.

In case of rain, the rain date will be June 23 from 9 to 11 p.m. at Township Park.

 
 

 

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