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Astronomy Night draws students to star search

Once every few months, Riverview astronomy teacher Jason Mocherman offers his students and others interested in stars and space a free event called “Astronomy Night.” Basically what goes down is Mocherman partners with a local astronomy club called “The Local Group of Deep Sky Observers,” and they bring out the telescopes to observe the stars in the sky and also runs some shows in the planetarium as well.

Mocherman offers Astronomy Night because it gives then powerful connections to star searching.

“I think it’s important for students to have the opportunity to do practical astronomy. The telescopes these people bring are far beyond what we are able to buy in schools,” he said.

Not only does he offer students the chance to observe the night sky through this event, but he also allows his students to check out the telescopes and take them home so they are able to look at the sky on their own.

Mocherman has been offering Astronomy Night since the new planetarium was built, and one of his favorite things about the events is seeing the reactions of the students.

“It’s cool to see them relate to something real. It’s not on screen or in a book…it’s something they’re looking at,” he said.

“Moch,” as he is called by his students, is very passionate about teaching astronomy, and his students gaining knowledge of space and what goes beyond that.

“I really enjoy seeing students ‘get it’ when I teach, that moment when they realize something new or learn something about the universe that blows their mind, Mocherman explained.

Apart from Astronomy Night, the meaning of astronomy goes much deeper than many realize, and it is extremely important for students to comprehend. Mocherman also believes it is important for students to know about astronomy because it maps out everyone’s past as well as the future.

“Astronomy tells us where we came from and where were going. Almost the entire history of mankind is woven through the study of astronomy. It gives us a deep appreciation of where we’ve come from and how amazing the universe is,” he said.

Mocherman offers Astronomy Night once every few months, so any students who are interested can go on down to the planetarium to see what the night sky has to offer.

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