By Linda Coldwell

special to pop

There are few things in nature as impressive as an eclipse. Whether it is the sun being blotted out by the moon or the moon entering into the earth's shadow and turning blood red, the natural reaction to such an event is one of awe. A free public lecture 7 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History will provide information about lunar eclipses, followed by an outdoor viewing of an actual partial eclipse, which will take place that evening. A door prize of a pair of 20 x 80 Konus binoculars, donated by Astronomics, will be given away prior to the lecture.

The lecture will be presented by Jeff Thibideau, president of the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club. Thibideau's presentation will discuss the nature of the earth, moon, sun system and how eclipses occur, as well as why we do not have them every month. He also will spend time surveying some of the more prominent features on the moon that can be seen through telescopes and discuss our current understanding of the formation of the moon.

Although skies will not be completely dark immediately following the lecture, outdoor stargazing with telescopes and guidance provided by local amateurs is planned afterward, weather permitting.

Thibodeau has had a life long love for observing things in the night sky and has served as president of the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club for the past six years. During that time he has overseen a doubling in the club's membership and been a key player in the building of the club's first observatory in the Watonga area. In his spare time Jeff has organized numerous star party events to bring astronomy to the public. During quiet times he has contributed hundreds of observations on stellar luminosity to the American Association of Variable Star Observers. Thibodeau is known among his peers as someone who can find extremely dim and distant objects at the very limits of the telescope equipment he is using and his skill in finding and even describing what others deem "invisible galaxies" has helped him gather numerous observing awards from the Astronomical League as well.

This presentation is part of the International Year of Astronomy lecture series organized by the University of Oklahoma's Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences in partnership with the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman Public Schools, the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club, the Odyssey Astronomy Club and Ten Acre Observatory. For more information, visit

The next lecture in the series, titled "Measuring the Universe with Supernovae," by Eddie Baron, professor in the OU H.L. Dodge Deptment of Physics and Astronomy, will be 7 p.m. Sept. 3. A full listing of all the International Year of Astronomy lectures can be found on the SNOMNH Web site:

Movie night at the museum Aug. 7

There's no guarantee that the dinosaurs will all come to life, but the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is inviting visitors in after hours for a screening of the popular film "Night at the Museum" Aug. 7. The doors will open at 7 p.m. and visitors will have access to museum galleries 7 to 8:30 p.m. Galleries will close at 8:30 p.m. when the film begins in the museum's Great Hall.

The cost is $5 for adults, $4 seniors ages 65 and up, $3 for children ages 6 to 17 and free for children ages 5 and under. The cost includes both evening access to the galleries and the movie. Museum members and OU students are admitted for free. Some seating will be provided, but visitors are welcome to bring pillows or blankets to make for more comfy seating on the floor if they would like. Drinks and snacks will be available for purchase, provided by the University of Oklahoma Housing and Food Services. No outside food or drink may be brought in.

The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is located on the OU Norman campus. For additional information about the museum, or for accommodations on the basis of disability, call 325-4712 or go online to

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