Bill Kirby

Online news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Planning for planets, ghosts and greats

Sometimes you find it - an astral surprise.

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The history of astronomy is a history of receding horizons.

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– Edwin Powell Hubble

Always an early riser, I was up at 4 a.m. last weekend, then drove a couple of miles away from all the town lights.

I found the crest of a small hill and an unobstructed view west-southwest to see the planet Uranus.

It’s hard to see.

In fact, I thought you couldn’t see it, but I was reading Dava Sobel’s book on the planets and she casually mentioned it was possible.

The binoculars I keep in my trunk helped, and I also had drawn myself a little chart on a Post-It note trying to pinpoint the planet with nearby constellations Aries and Pegasus.

It was right where it was supposed to be.

Mission accomplished, I went back to my car and drove home, where I carefully logged the achievement in my astronomy notebook.

Thank goodness for affordable hobbies.

SPEAKING OF STARS: The Astronomy Club of Augusta is inviting us all to celebrate Science Education Enrichment Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center at USC Aiken.

I think asteroids were mentioned.

GRAVEYARD SHIFT: If you like historic endeavors, however, you might visit the Summerville Cemetery at 1 p.m. Saturday, when a governor’s proclamation will be read honoring John Milledge, the former Augusta resident whom we named a road and a town after.

After that, many can “Walk With the Spirits,” Historic Augusta’s wonderful 3 to 6 p.m. graveyard tour in this same spot.

(P.S.: Don’t tell the Zombie Walk guys. They had their day last weekend.)

THERE’S MORE: The second Academy of Richmond County hall of fame dinner will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at Fat Man’s Mill Cafe at Enterprise Mill.

Among those being inducted this year are former U.S. Rep. Doug Barnard, the late state Rep. Jack Connell and several others, including George Stallings, the manager of the 1914 World Series champion “Miracle” Braves. (Wish he’d been managing this year.)

Reservations can be made over the phone by calling the school at (706) 737-7152.

TODAY’S JOKE: Bill Wood, of Hephzibah, shares what might be bliss for the modern woman:

She’s sitting at the breakfast table with her gourmet coffee.

Her son is on the cover of the Wheaties box.

Her daughter is on the cover of Business Week.

Her new boyfriend is on the cover of Playgirl.

And her ex-husband is on the back of the milk carton.


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