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Get closer look at Moon, Jupiter at Observatory open house this Sunday

October 6, 2011

KOKOMO, Ind. – Get up close and personal with the Moon and Jupiter this Sunday, October 9, at the Indiana University Kokomo Observatory’s monthly open house, from 8 to 11 p.m.

Patric Motl peers into the telescope in the IU Kokomo ObservatoryPatrick Motl peers into the telescope in the IU Kokomo Observatory.

Stargazers can expect a great show in the sky that night.

“Jupiter will be rising to be visible from the Observatory at about 9 p.m.,” said Patrick Motl, assistant professor of physics. “Other objects for the night include the fall classics Alberio, a color contrast double star in Cygnus and the ring nebula (a planetary nebula) in Lyra.”

Motl will give a brief presentation at the beginning of the open house, discussing the Kepler mission’s recent results in their search for extra-solar planets.

“The Kepler mission is pretty amazing from a technological point of view,” he said. “It will directly answer the question of how prevalent life-sustaining worlds are in our galaxy. So far, the mission has reported more than 1,200 planet candidates that are being followed up at observatories all around the world.”

The Observatory at IU Kokomo features two telescopes mounted together – a six-inch Takahashi refracting telescope and a 16-inch Meade reflecting telescope. The Takahashi provides exceptionally sharp images of planets, while the Meade lets stargazers see fainter objects in the sky, due to its larger light collecting area.

The Kokomo Astronomy Club will also be present on Sunday to set up their own personal telescopes, which will allow for a variety of views. 

The event is free and open to the public.

The Observatory opens its doors to the Kokomo community on the second Sunday of each month. The next open house is scheduled for November 13.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 08/13/2014