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Telescope discoveries topic of free open house

Aug 30, 2023
Image of the IU Kokomo Observatory
Image of the IU Kokomo Observatory

KOKOMO, Ind. — Learn about discoveries made during the first year of science operations for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope at the first free Indiana University Kokomo Observatory open house of the school year.

Patrick Motl, professor of physics, will begin the open house at 8 p.m. Sunday, September 10, with an update on the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest, most powerful space telescope ever built. It allows scientists to look at what the universe was like about 200 million years after the Big Bang, and will be able to capture images of some of the first galaxies ever formed. It launched on December 25, 2021, arrived at its final orbit nearly 1 million miles from earth in January 2022, and began operations in July 2022.

After the presentation, stargazers may be able to see Saturn rising and the summer triangle 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. 

Observation will continue through 10 p.m., weather permitting.

The Observatory is at 2660 S. Washington Street. Free parking is available on campus.

Additional open houses for the 2023-2024 academic year are planned from 8 to 10 p.m. on October 8, March 10, April 14, and May 19, and from 7 to 9 p.m. on November 12, December 10, January 14, and February 11.

In addition, the Observatory will host an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 14 for a partial solar eclipse. It will also be open from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 8, 2024, for the total solar eclipse that will pass over North America, with Kokomo on the north edge of the path of totality.

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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