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Looking to the sky for answers



What: Watchers Of The Sky

Where: My Place

When: Saturday, Feb. 15

Every now and then tragedy strikes the explorers and innovators of our time. The recent Columbia space shuttle disaster is a prime example. Some people say accidents such as these are Mother Nature’s, or God’s, way of reminding us how small we really are. But if you’ve ever looked up at the stars on one of Whistler’s magical clear nights, you can feel that sense of magnitude with one miniscule gasp of breath.

Whistler’s local public astronomers, John Nemy and Carol Legate, run the Pacific Observatory, dedicated to watching the world above and educating those interested in stars and space.

"We call ourselves the naturalists of the night, two people hooked on astronomy and space exploration," said Nemy. Their passion has led them to teaching, performing and presenting.

Saturday night at MY Place will feature a unique exhibit titled Watchers Of The Sky. Nemy will fill the theatre with stories, slides, photos and predictions for the future of space travel in light of NASA’s latest accident.

"The loss of the space shuttle Columbia will dramatically affect the future of the International Space Staion," said Nemy. "At this very moment there are three astronauts living on the space station and they’ve been there for months. They were due to return to Earth on March 1, when the shuttle Atlantis was scheduled to deliver a replacement crew, but that mission and all future shuttle flights are now on hold until investigators learn what caused Columbia to disintegrate 40 miles above Earth."

The last shuttle to the space station was the Endeavour in late November, 2002. It remained there long enough for Whistler astronomers to witness as it passed over the region, and Nemy promises to show those historic photos.

"This show will be a great primer for anyone who’s ever thought about stargazing. I’ll show photos of the space station, the shuttle Columbia, we’ll tour ancient tribal villages where natives watched the stars thousands of years ago, we’ll touch on tips for backyard astronomy and look at images from 7th Heaven through Whistler’s largest space telescope," said an excited Nemy,

The starry-eyed astronomer composes his own music to go with the shows.

"I’ve always used the guitar but lately I’ve been using my computer too. You can literally record an entire album right on your computer these days with any instrumental sound you like."

I had to pose one more question before I let Nemy go: "Are there such things as alien life forms?" I asked meekly.

Nemy replied: "Maybe a long time ago there was life on other planets but now I don’t think there’s anything out there, at least not in our galaxy or lifetime. Somewhere out there I believe there is life but not like life on earth."

Tickets to Watchers Of The Sky are $9.95 from Ticketmaster on-line or the MY Place box office. More information, visit . Show starts at 7:30 p.m.

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