MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - Jim Peck, an amateur astronomer since he first saw the Russian satellite Sputnik I in the night sky as a child, will present a virtual program, “The Sky by Day and by Night: An Introduction to the Heavens,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7.

The program is part of the Option Green lecture series sponsored by the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission in partnership with the East Brunswick Library. To attend, follow the instructions for Zoom on the library website at this link.  The program is recommended for adults and science-oriented young people.

Peck’s presentation will cover the moon, planets, stars and constellations, as well as deep sky objects, artificial satellites and the sun’s path across the sky. He will show the night sky exactly as it will appear that night over East Brunswick using software that can be downloaded for free. He will also be able to speed up time and adjust the location to show numerous astronomical objects from anywhere on Earth.   

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Peck’s interest in astronomy began when he watched the first-ever man-made satellite – Russia’s Sputnik 1 – travel across the night sky over Albuquerque, NM, when he was 10. Years later, he was leading astronomy programs as education director for the American Littoral Society, a coastal conservation group on Sandy Hook, and as executive director of the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary in Short Hills.

Peck, who lives in Monroe, also explored the state’s natural sites from High Point to Cape May for his Trail Mix nature column that appeared in local Gannett newspapers for 14 years. He has presented nature and astronomy programs at public libraries across the state including East Brunswick.

The Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to education and conservation. Its programs include the Community Garden, Salamander Protection, National Moth Week and Freecycling Days, as well as the EB Grow Seed Library in collaboration with the library. For more information, visit friendsebec.com.  Suggestions for future Option Green programs can be made here.