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Watch the Leonids Roar in at John Sevier's House

Grad Students Coordinate November 18 Viewing at the Marble Spring Historic Site

November 8, 2023

Leonid Meteor Shower credit Navicore

Leonid Meteor Shower (credit: Navicore)

In a fitting tribute to Governor John Sevier's pioneer spirit, his home is hosting explorers looking to learn more about the universe where we live.

The Marble Springs State Historic Site is the last home and farm of Tennessee's first governor and welcomes night sky fans on November 18, when UT Physics graduate students will explain and coordinate viewing of the Leonid Meteor Shower. The event gets underway at 7 PM and lasts until 11 PM. Marble Springs will have firepits out for s'mores and warmth, so bring blankets, telescopes, questions, and your astronomical enthusiasm.

This is the third astronomy presentation at Marble Springs this year: in April the site opened their green space as part of World Astronomy Month and Earth day celebrations. On August 25 they hosted an ice cream social followed by an evening of stargazing. Physics graduate students Michael Benjamin, Adam Cole, Donnie Hoskins, Jordan Jubeck, Ashwin Nagarajan, and Colter Richardson shared their insights and set up telescopes to help amateur astronomers navigate the night sky.

"This most recent event had us providing a night sky talk to a group of about 140 people from around the Knoxville area," Richardson explained. "We had two telescopes, some binoculars, and then hosted some by-eye viewings. In all cases the physics graduate students were talking with community members and providing mini sky lectures."

Students will reprise these roles at the November event. Richardson said Marble Springs is a great spot for stargazing because the skies are much darker than around campus but not too far from downtown Knoxville.

The events began when Danielle Sherrell, education and programming coordinator for the Marble Springs site, reached out to her former classmate (and current physics graduate student) Donnie Hoskins about community engagement. He spoke to Richardson and the astronomy outreach program got rolling. The students hope to grow their ranks to host more regularly scheduled events, but for now, be sure to mark your calendar and review event details for November 18! You can also RSVP here.

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