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View planets, winter constellations at Observatory open house

Nov 8, 2022
A cream and crimson IU Kokomo banner in front of the Observatory
A cream and crimson IU Kokomo banner in front of the Observatory

KOKOMO, Ind. – What is a neutrino, and why is it important to astronomy?

Learn more about neutrinos — tiny, nearly massless particles that travel at near light speeds — and how they are studied at the Indiana University Kokomo Observatory’s free monthly open house Sunday, November 13.

Patrick Motl, professor of physics, will begin the evening at 7 p.m. with a presentation about neutrino astronomy, which allows for observation of astronomical objects with neutrino detectors in special observatories. It gives the opportunity to observe processes inaccessible in optical telescopes, such as reactions in the sun’s core.

“I will discuss how neutrino astronomy is conducted, and its growing role as part of multi-messenger astronomy,” said Motl, referring to the process of studying astronomy not just by observations through telescopes, but also gathering information from sources like neutrinos and radio waves.

Following the discussion, those attending may see Saturn and Jupiter at the start with Mars rising later in the evening followed by the moon, 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. 

The constellations of the winter hexagon will rise as the open house starts, with the summer triangle setting in the west.

Viewing will continue until 9 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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