Indiana University Kokomo

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KOKOMO, Ind. — Jupiter and the Orion nebula will be the highlights of the first Indiana University Kokomo Observatory open house of the New Year, from 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday.

The ObservatoryThe ObservatoryPatrick Motl, assistant professor of physics, said with the moon a waxing crescent, the skies should be "nice and dark," for good views if the skies are clear.

Motl will begin the open house with an overview of the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society, which he is attending this week in Long Beach, Calif.

Jupiter will dominate the night sky in January, appearing high in the east within a half hour after sunset. A number of bright starts will be in Jupiter's part of the sky, and the giant planet will be much brighter than any of them. There will be excellent view of the planet this month with a telescope at mid-northern latitudes, since the planet will be unusually high above the horizon from dusk until after midnight

Visitors will get the closest view possible of Jupiter and its moons 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.