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Mission to the sun focus of free Open House

Mar 7, 2022
IU Kokomo Observatory
IU Kokomo Observatory

KOKOMO, Ind. – Learn more about a mission to explore the sun, at a free Indiana University Kokomo Observatory Open House on Sunday, March 13.

Patrick Motl, professor of physics, will begin the evening at 8 p.m. with discussion of the Parker Solar Probe, a NASA mission that launched in August 2018, with the goal of increasing understanding of the sun. It will swoop to within 4 million miles of the sun, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it.

Following the discussion, those attending may look at the stars and planets through 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. 

“We will have the moon as our sole solar system object to observe, as the planets are all rising before the sun,” Motl said. “In addition, we will have highlights from the winter hexagon like the Orion nebula and the Pleiades along our meridian that evening.”

Viewing will continue until 10 p.m., weather permitting.

The Observatory is at 2660 S. Washington Street. Admission and parking are free.

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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