Time’s the theme of Smith’s March 15 MTSU Star Par...

Time’s the theme of Smith’s March 15 MTSU Star Party talk

Time is the subject of Department of Physics and Astronomy associate professor Nat Smith’s presentation for MTSU‘s next Star Party starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 15.

The talk, which is titled “Something about Time,” will be held in Room 102 of Wiser-Patten Science Hall.

Early quartz clocks

Quartz clocks like these early varieties will be a part of Nat Smith’s Star Party talk Friday, March 15, in Wiser-Patten Science Hall Room 102. (Photo from Wikipedia)

First Friday Star Parties are a way for the department to bring MTSU, Murfreesboro and surrounding communities together. There will be a lecture followed by telescope viewing outdoors, weather permitting.

The event is free and open to the public, and children are always welcome. Attendees should dress warmly for the outdoor portion.

To find free parking after 6 p.m. and the Wiser-Patten building, visit Handicap parking requires a state permit.

“Time is a mysterious thing, and no one really knows what it is,” Smith said. “You can’t go out and get a bucket full of time, for example, to analyze it.”

Dr. Nat Smith

“I’m not going to talk about what time is,” he added. “Instead, I want to focus on more — and some less — practical questions.”

He said his topics will include:

• Why do we use hours, minutes, and seconds?
• Why does anyone need a clock that can measure time to billionths of a second?
• Are pulsars the best clocks in the universe?
• What’s the link between a good clock and finding your way from here to there and back again?

Smith said he also will discuss quartz clocks during his talk.

For more information, call 615-898-2130.

In addition to the Department of Physics and Astronomy, one of 11 departments in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, MTSU has more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

— Randy Weiler (

Night image of MTSU observatory

Weather permitting, the March 15 MTSU Star Party hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy will conclude at the observatory. (File photo from


Spring 2019 Star Party graphic