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Observatory plans two October open house events

Oct 3, 2023
An IU banner in front of the Observatory
An IU banner in front of the Observatory

KOKOMO, Ind. — The Indiana University Kokomo Observatory will host two free open houses in October.

First, stargazers are invited to the regular monthly session from 8 to 10 p.m. on Sunday, October 8. Then, return between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 14, to view the annular solar eclipse that will cross North, Central, and South America.

Patrick Motl, professor of physics, said the eclipse will start at 11:39 a.m. and end at 2:27 p.m. The deepest part of the eclipse will be at 1:01 p.m., he said, but less than half of the sun will be eclipsed by the moon.

He also plans to livestream the eclipse on the IU Kokomo YouTube channel.

The sun is never completely blocked by the moon during an annular solar eclipse. Therefore, during an annular eclipse, it is never safe to look directly at the sun without specialized eye protection designed for solar viewing. You can also use an indirect viewing method, such as a pinhole projector.

He added that the Observatory also will 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.

Motl will begin the October 8 open house at 8 p.m. with a presentation about the Osiris-REX mission. The craft returned a sample from the asteroid Bennu in September and is headed back out to explore the asteroid Apophis with a rendezvous in 2029.

Observing will be from 8 to 10 p.m., weather permitting, with Saturn and later Jupiter in the evening skies, and highlights from the summer triangle like Albireo and the Ring Nebula.

After the presentation, stargazers may be able to see Saturn and Jupiter, as well as highlights from 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. 

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

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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