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Supernova, comet are stars of the show at Observatory open house

Feb 6, 2023
The Observatory in snow
The Observatory in snow

KOKOMO, Ind. – Look for a comet and learn more about an unusual supernova remnant at the Indiana University Kokomo Observatory’s free monthly open house.

Patrick Motl, professor of physics, will begin the evening at 7 p.m. Sunday, February 12 with discussion of Pa 30, a supernova that attracted attention at the recent winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

“The remnant has a very unusual structure and properties, and matches a historic supernova noted in the year 1181,” Motl said. “It may have resulted from the merger of two white dwarf stars.”

After the talk, stargazers may be able to see the fading comet C/2022 E3 ZTF, in addition to Mars, Jupiter, and highlights from the winter hexagon of constellations (weather permitting) through the Observatory’s two telescopes. They are 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’s larger light-collecting area allows viewers to see fainter objects in the sky. 

Viewing will continue until 9 p.m.

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

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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