Open House Night in Astronomy planned for opposition of Jupiter

The School of Science at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, will observe the annual opposition of Jupiter with an Open House Night in Astronomy on Monday, Sept. 20. Oppositions of Jupiter -- when Earth laps Jupiter in its orbit around the sun -- occur approximately once a year.

Darren Williams, associate professor of physics and astronomy, will give a lecture on the opposition beginning at 8 p.m. in 101 Otto Behrend Science Building, followed by astronomical observing from Mehalso Observatory from 9 to 10:30 p.m., weather permitting. In the event of cloud cover, Williams will host a second attempt at viewing at the same time on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

“This also is the time when Jupiter is nearest the Earth and appears the brightest to observers,” Williams said. “Jupiter is spectacular at any time of year, but opposition accentuates the detail that can be seen through a telescope. We can expect to see the familiar bands in the planet’s atmosphere, as well as the four bright moons that Galileo Galilei sketched more than 400 years ago.”

Both events are free and open to the public. Open House Nights in Astronomy are an outreach service of the School of Science and intended for a non-technical audience ages 8 and older. For additional information, call 814-898-6105.

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Last Updated September 07, 2010