IUK’s February Observatory open house to feature Venus, Mars

Last Updated on February 12, 2017 by cassnetwork

KOKOMO, Ind. — Mars and Venus will steal the show at Indiana University Kokomo’s Observatory open house from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, February 12.

Patrick Motl, associate professor of physics, will start the open house with a public talk about the James Webb Telescope, set for launch in October 2018.

The successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, the Webb Telescope is an infrared telescope in its final stages of testing, after having being first proposed decades ago.

Immediately following the discussion, star gazers may view the skies through the Observatory’s 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.

“Venus and Mars are going to be really noticeable around sunset, and the winter hexagon constellations as well,” Motl said.

The winter hexagon is an asterism, or a group of stars that are smaller than a constellation. It includes Orion, Canis Minor, Canis Major, Auriga, Gemini and Taurus.

The open house, which ends at 9 p.m., is free and open to the public, 105 E. Rebecca Lane. Free parking is also available on campus.

SOURCE: Story written by Reid Clingenpeel. Reid is a student writer in IUK’s Office of Media and Marketing.