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Search for exoplanets subject of Observatory open house

Mar 6, 2023
IU Kokomo Observatory
IU Kokomo Observatory

KOKOMO, Ind. – What planets exist outside our solar system?

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, is searching for the answer to that question.

Learn more about TESS at the Indiana University Kokomo Observatory’s free open house, from 8 to 10 p.m. Sunday, March 12.

Patrick Motl, professor of physics, will begin the open house with discussion of TESS, which launched in 2018, and has been scanning almost the entire sky looking for exoplanets (planets beyond our solar system). It has also uncovered other cosmic phenomena, including star-shredding black holes and stellar oscillations. He will also talk about the Carmenes survey, which is examining 300 M-dwarf stars for signs of exoplanets.

After the talk, stargazers may be able to see Jupiter, Venus, and the winter hexagon constellations, which will be near overhead at sunset, 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 10 p.m.

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

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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More pictures from the opening reception here.
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IU Kokomo