Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn are all above the horizon at sunset, and will be joined by a waxing gibbous moon, according to Patrick Motl, assistant professor of physics.
The open house begins at 8 p.m. Sunday, May 11, and continues until 10 p.m., weather permitting, in the Observatory, 105 E. Rebecca Lane.
Motl will begin the open house with discussion of recent results from the BICEP2 mission at the South Pole, which detected polarization features in the cosmic microwave background that indicate the universe had a phase of rapid expansion, called inflation, in its very early history.
"As part of telling the story of BICEP2 results, I will discuss the big bang cosmological model, and motivations for its extension to the inflationary big bang model," said Motl.
After the talk, participants may view the planets through the Observatory's telescopes, which include a six-inch Takahashi refracting telescope and a 16-inch Meade reflecting telescope mounted together. The Takahashi provides exceptionally sharp images of planets, while the Meade allows viewers to see fainter objects in the sky, due to its larger light collecting area.
The open house is free and open to the public, and free parking is available on campus.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.