05 November 2012
Patrick Motl, assistant professor of physics, said Jupiter is expected to rise in the sky around 7 p.m., "which means the constellations of the winter hexagon, including Orion with its beautiful nebula, are joining the evening sky as fall heads into winter."
The moon also will be in a new phase, meaning the skies will be darker, and a thinning crescent of the moon will be visible before dawn towards the southeast on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
Motl will start the open house with a short presentation on updates in the search for extrasolar planets, including the recent discovery from the HARPS survey of a planet orbiting alpha Centauri B, and challenges with the Kepler mission's search for Earth-like planets.
Those attending may also view the stars and planets through the Observatory's telescopes, which 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 lets stargazers see fainter objects in the sky, due to its larger light collecting area.
The open house is free and open to the public in the Observatory, 105 E. Rebecca Lane. Free parking is available on campus.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.