01 November 2013
Patrick Motl, assistant professor of physics, will begin the open house at 7 p.m., with a talk about Comet ISON, and prospects for seeing it.
"The comet is now visible with a telescope in the sky before the sun rises, and is on track to be seen with the naked eye in about a month's time, after it swings past the sun," Motl said.
NASA's website, www.nasa.gov, has a recent photo of the comet as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as an animation of the comet's projected path.
The open house continues through 10 p.m., weather permitting.
As the evening sky darkens during November, Venus will be near its peak of brightness low in the southwest. Because the ecliptic, or imaginary line in the sky that marks the annual path of the sun, makes a shallow angle with the western horizon at this time of year for observers at mid-northern latitudes, Venus will be only 11 degrees high an hour after sunset at the beginning of the month. It will also be at its greatest elongation from the sun, but its distance from the sun will be along the horizon rather than above the horizon.
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 in the Observatory, 105 E. Rebecca Lane. Free parking is available on campus,
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.