RET member Shawn Grant will present a talk titled "The Joys of Backyard Stargazing". The presentation will concentrate on how to appreciate the night sky by naked eye and with binoculars that most of us already own. Tips will be given on how to identify constellations and planets. Meteor showers, planetary conjunctions, and eclipses will also be discussed together with a demonstration of phone apps that help to navigate the sky and to forecast interesting events. There will also be a strong focus on the upcoming total solar eclipse visible in East Tennessee on August 21, including the best locations for viewing and how to do it safely.
Understanding the features of the night sky is a good gateway towards scientific literacy that we should share with others, and Shawn will briefly discuss how fascination with this aspect of nature fostered his love of science and led him away from religion.