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Learn about neutron star merger, seasonal changes at Observatory Open House

November 6, 2017

KOKOMO, Ind. — Observe the change in season from the sky at the Observatory open house on Sunday, November 12 at Indiana University Kokomo.

Patrick Motl, associate professor of physics, will begin the open house at 7 p.m. with a presentation on the neutron star merger first detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and seen by more than 70 observatories in the relatively nearby galaxy, NGC 4993, in August.

“This event confirms the connection between neutron star mergers and a class of gamma ray bursts, that these mergers produce kilo novae and that the elements in the periodic table beyond iron is largely generated by the rapid neutron capture process in these mergers,” said Motl. “As is often the case in science, resolving long-standing questions raises even more questions and mysteries still abound.”

After the presentation, those attending will have a view without planets or the moon through the Observatory’s telescopes, a six-inch Takahashi refracting telescope and a 16-inch Meade reflecting telescope mounted together. The Takahashi provides exceptionally sharp images, while the Meade allows viewers to see fainter objects in the sky, due to its larger light-collecting area.

Observation continues until 9 p.m., weather permitting.

The open house is free and open to the public in the Observatory, 2660 South Washington Street. Free parking is available on campus.

Story written by Sarah Gill. Sarah is an intern in the Office of Media & Marketing.

 Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 11/06/2017