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Asteroid deflection test focus of Observatory open house

Oct 5, 2022
IU Kokomo Observatory
IU Kokomo Observatory

KOKOMO, Ind. – Learn about NASA’s mission to protect our planet from asteroids, at Indiana University Kokomo’s free Observatory Open House Sunday, October 9.

Patrick Motl, professor of physics, will discuss the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, starting at 8 p.m.

After DART’s 10-month flight, it successfully impacted with its asteroid target on Monday, September 26, in the agency’s first attempt to move an asteroid in space. As a part of NASA’s overall planetary defense strategy, DART’s impact with the asteroid Dimorphos demonstrates a viable mitigation technique for protecting the planet from an Earth-bound asteroid or comet, if one were discovered.

The mission’s one-way trip confirmed NASA can successfully navigate a spacecraft to intentionally collide with an asteroid to deflect it, a technique known as kinetic impact.

Following the discussion, those attending may see a full moon, Jupiter, and Saturn, with the constellations of the summer triangle to the west 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. 

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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