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Longer winter nights means a return to stargazing, says UW-Stevens Point professor

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Have you seen me lately?  An image of the Milky Way's Galactic Center in the night sky above Paranal Observatory.  Courtesy Wikipedia
Have you seen me lately? An image of the Milky Way's Galactic Center in the night sky above Paranal Observatory. Courtesy Wikipedia

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) - The nights are getting longer, and that means it's the perfect time of the year to head out stargazing.

UWSP Astronomy professor Randy Olson says the winter months are the best times of the year to see nighttime objects. "When you've got those nice cold nights, it really clears up the atmosphere, clears up the sky so you've got some really good views of the nighttime sky."

This winter, Olson says says the most prominent thing you'll see in the sky is Venus near the Western horizon. "As we go through November and December, Venus will be getting further away from the sun so it will be visible for a longer time after sunset, for an hour to an hour and a half or so."

Olson says the best place to get a chance to see the stars will be a clear space away from city lights. "If you can get 10 or 15 miles outside of the nearest city, that would be a wonderful viewing location for giving you a dark sky to see some of these objects."

The UWSP planetarium will also be offering some nighttime programming this weekend. You can get a schedule online at http://www.uwsp.edu/physastr/plan_obs/Pages/Public-Programs.aspx

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