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Space telescope discoveries featured at Observatory open house

Campus Life Dec 6, 2023

KOKOMO, Ind. — Learn about recent discoveries from the James Webb space telescope at the last Indiana University Kokomo Observatory free open house of 2023.

Patrick Motl, professor of physics, will begin the open house at 7 p.m. Sunday, December 10, with a presentation about recent findings from the James Webb space telescope that inform our picture of how planets in other solar systems form.

“The snow line is the boundary where molecules like water would be ice outside, but a vapor inside the snow line,” Motl said. “This raises the question of how water and similar materials make it into the inner solar system to worlds like our own earth.”

After the presentation, stargazers may be able to see Saturn and Jupiter, weather permitting. In addition to highlights from the rising constellations of the winter hexagon, Motl said objects like the double cluster and the Andromeda galaxy could also be visible. These may be viewed 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 9 p.m., weather permitting.

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