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IU Kokomo Observatory open house to feature Venus exploration

February 5, 2018

KOKOMO, Ind. — Venus headlines as the main event at the Indiana University Kokomo Observatory Open House on Sunday, February 11.  

Patrick Motl, associate professor of physics, will begin at 7 p.m. with a presentation on the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) spacecraft, Akatsuki. This spaceship has been studying Venus from orbit since 2016.

“Despite being a world very similar to Earth in many aspects, Venus has not been as thoroughly explored as Mars,” Motl said. “Akatsuki represents JAXA’s first successful planetary exploration mission.”

After the presentation, those attending may view Neptune through the Observatory’s telescopes. In addition, winter highlights such as the crab nebula in Taurus, the Pleiades, and the great nebula in Orion will be observable, weather permitting, until 9 p.m.

The Observatory’s telescopes are 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, 2660 Washington Street. Free parking is available on campus.

For more information on Akatsuki spacecraft, visit Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Story written by Sarah Gill. Sarah is student worker in the Office of Media & Marketing.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 02/05/2018