Highland Road Park Observatory hosts 2017 Preview Party

(Source: Liz Koh/WAFB)
(Source: Liz Koh/WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Many await the new year, especially the Highland Road Park Observatory.

Organizers are planning the 2017 Preview Party, which is to preview what's happening in the realm of astronomy and space science in the new year.

The event will be held at the observatory on Friday, December 30 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The telescope will also be available to view the night sky.

"Uranus and Neptune will be up," said Christopher Kersey, observatory manager. "The Andromeda Galaxy, the Orion Nebula, they will both be up in the Baton Rouge sky during the party. We'll have some great food. We'll have some games for the kids to get some prizes."

Throughout the year, the observatory hosts different space science events and opportunities to see stars, comets and eclipses. Current data suggests that there might be two or three bright comets at the beginning of the new year.

"Just keep in mind that there is something new to see in the sky every month. The stars rise four minutes earlier every night so that's an extra half hour every week and a couple hours of new sky every month. So, we always hit the highlights of each season. Of course there are special things. NASA launches comets sometimes if you're lucky. Also if you're lucky, an eclipse. We'll see what happens for 2017," Kersey added.

The viewing party will also be in dedication of a very important person who helped make the observation become a reality in Baton Rouge.

"It's going to be a bittersweet preview party. Yesterday morning, we lost one of the founders of the Baton Rouge Astronomical Society, Wally Pursell. He and Craig Brenden founded the club. Without the club this observatory wouldn't exist. It was the clubs original idea to bring a professional observatory to Baton Rouge but we'll keep soldiering on and I know it's what he would have wanted," Kersey explained.

The Preview Party is a free event.

The observatory is located at 13800 Highland Road in Baton Rouge.

For more information, click HERE.

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