Penn State Mont Alto announces fall schedule for Evening Talks and Star Parties

The 2023 lineup also includes two on-campus planetarium shows and one virtual planetarium event
Fall2023 Star Series
Credit: Penn State

MONT ALTO, Pa. — During Penn State Mont Alto’s Fall Evening Talks Series, two current faculty members will share some of their research and experiences. The talks will be offered both in-person for campus and local community members and via Zoom for anyone who is interested.

Thursday, Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m.: "The Enduring Appeal of the Internal Combustion Engine," presented by Jacob Moore, associate professor of engineering

  • About the talk: In order to reduce society’s carbon emissions and transition away from burning fossil fuels, humans will need to phase out the internal combustion engine in vehicles. Though electric cars are fundamentally simpler in design and have been around almost as long as the car itself, the internal combustion engine has dominated vehicle sales for more than one hundred years. As we hopefully and finally make the needed transition to electric vehicles, this talk focuses not on the electric vehicle, but instead on the internal combustion engine. How does it work? How did it become the standard for vehicles worldwide? Why hasn’t anything been able to unseat this technology as the standard for so long?

Thursday, Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m.: "Great American Solar Eclipses: Sun... Moon... You!," presented by Kim Herrmann, associate professor of physics and astronomy

  • About the talk: What is an eclipse? What is the difference between total, annular, partial, solar and lunar eclipses and how do they occur? How do solar eclipses feature different areas of the sun? Herrmann will answer these questions, provide an overview of the sun and astronomical transits, and describe two upcoming solar eclipses — one on Oct. 14 this year and one on April 8 in the spring — that will be visible from across the United States. She will include safe ways about how to observe them and maps of the two paths.

To attend one or both Evening Talks in-person at the General Studies Auditorium, please register here. To virtually attend the Sept. 14 Evening Talk, please register here. To virtually attend the Oct. 5 Evening Talk, please register here

Post-Evening Talk Star Parties

Weather permitting, Herrmann will lead a Star Party after each Evening Talk event in the field between Orchard Road and the Mont Alto General Studies Building parking lot from 8:45 to 10 p.m. Activities will include telescope viewing and night sky tours with green laser pointers.

Multiple telescopes may be available, courtesy of the TriState Astronomers, a local amateur astronomy club. In the event of cold weather, patrons should wear layers of clothing and bring jackets, hats and gloves. Precipitation or cloud cover may cause any Star Party to be canceled.

Star Parties are also free and open to the public, but require advanced registration. To register to attend one or both of the Star Parties, please register here.

Planetarium Shows

In addition to the Star Parties this fall, Herrmann will offer two evening planetarium shows in the Allied Health Building White Box, room 115, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2, and Friday, Nov. 3; and one virtual planetarium event via Zoom from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29. These events are free and open to the public but advanced registration is required. 

  • To attend one or both of the in-person planetarium shows, register here.
  • To attend the Nov. 29 virtual planetarium show, register here

For more information about Penn State Mont Alto’s Evening Talks and Planetarium events, contact Kim Herrmann, associate professor of physics and astronomy, at [email protected].