KOKOMO, Ind. —NASA’s Cassini spacecraft plunged into the Saturn’s upper atmosphere September 15, burning up to complete its 20-year mission to study the planet and its systems.
Local astronomy enthusiasts can learn more about the results of the Cassini mission at the Indiana University Kokomo Observatory’s free monthly open house, from 8 to 10 p.m. Sunday, October 8.
Patrick Motl, associate professor of physics, will begin the open house with retrospective on the recently completed Cassini mission to Saturn. The mission, a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency, launched October 15, 1997, and orbited Saturn for 13 years.
Following the presentation, those attending may view Saturn and Uranus through the Observatory’s telescopes, weather permitting.
“Saturn and Uranus are both up at sunset,” said Motl. “Shifting in to fall, we will have fall highlights like the Andromeda galaxy to view in addition to favorites in the summer triangle like the color contrast double star Albireo, the Ring Nebula and the great globular clusterin Hercules.”
The Observatory's two telescopes, 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.
Both events are 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.