November 16, 2012

Public welcome to upcoming Jupiter observations

by Jordan Wren

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Department of Physics, in association with the Saluki Astronomy Association and the Astronomical Association of Southern Illinois, is wrapping up the fall 2012 semester with two public astronomy observations.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover these events. Contact Bob Baer, computer and electronics specialist in the physics department, at 618/453-2729 for more information.

Bob Baer, a computer and electronics specialist in the physics department, said the main attraction for both observations is Jupiter and its moons.

“Jupiter comes into view nicely this time of year, and, with the aid of a telescope, you can easily see the banding of Jupiter and the four Galilean moons,” he said.

Both observations will be on the observation deck on the James W. Neckers Building roof, above the building’s A wing. The building is at 1245 Lincoln Drive,

The first observation is from 7-10 p.m., Nov. 25. The observation will start with Jupiter visible on the eastern horizon. The Ring Nebula will be visible for the first hour. Andromeda will be directly overhead at 9 p.m., with the Great Orion Nebula coming into view beginning at about 9 p.m. The moon will be out during the entire observation.

Observation organizers will deliver a presentation on the night sky during the observation.  Several telescopes will be available for public use.

The last public observation of the year is from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Dec. 21.  Organizers have dubbed it “the “End of the World” observation, due to predictions based on the Mayan calendar.

Highlights for the evening include Jupiter, the Moon, Andromeda and the Great Orion Nebula.

Organizers will deliver a presentation on the night sky, along with a discussion of end-of-the-world myths and some of the real threats to the solar system.

“Our setup for the observations usually includes four to five telescopes,” Baer said.

Those interested in attending should enter the building through the west doors facing the parking lot, and take the stairs up to the fourth floor and meet outside of Neckers’ room 456.

Free hot chocolate and apple cider will also be available in the Physics lounge, on the fourth floor just below the astronomy observation deck.

Members of the public who would like to participate and observe are welcome to attend, and the event is free of charge. Children are welcome with accompanying adult supervision.

Large groups or anyone with special needs should contact Baer by email at in advance.

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