Harper College astronomy instructors have a hunch the world won't really end -- per doomsday predictions -- on Friday, Dec. 21. When it doesn't, they'll celebrate with a free midday observatory party allowing the public to look collectively to the heavens, where, they insist, the sun will shine for another day.
The "Not the End of the World" solar observing event will be held from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, at the Karl G. Henize Observatory on Harper's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road, in Palatine.
Held one day after the Winter Solstice -- the longest day of the year and the day that the sun is lowest in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere -- the event should provide a close-up view of sunspots and solar prominences, large loop-like features extending from the sun's surface, through the observatory's large main telescope.
The observatory is on the northeast side of campus, with parking available in Lot 8. Harper typically provides free public viewings every other weekend through the spring, summer and early fall. The observatory will not be open in the evening following the sun event, and the event will be canceled by Harper instructors if the weather is too cloudy to easily view the sun.