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USU Physics Hosts 'Mythbusters,' Observatory Night Friday, April 19

Thursday, Apr. 18, 2013

USU observatory

Friday, April 19, the public is invited to the USU Society of Physics Students presentation of 'Mythbusters' at 7 p.m., followed by viewings through the telescope at the USU Observatory. Admission is free.

the comet Pan-STARRS

The comet Pan-STARRS is among celestial views astronomy enthusiasts will seek during USU Observatory Public Night this Friday, April 19. Image courtesy of NASA.

Utah State University’s Society of Physics Students chapter and Department of Physics invite the public to an evening of “phenomenal physics ‘phun’.”

The evening opens with “Mythbusters,” a presentation following the format of the popular Discovery Channel TV series, hosted by USU’s SPS chapter at 7 p.m. in the Eccles Science Learning Center Emert Auditorium, Room 130. Admission is free and open to all ages.

“We’re going to explore some intriguing scientific ‘myths’ and make some discoveries together,” says Darren McKinnon, undergraduate physics researcher and USU SPS chapter officer.

From 8:30-10:30 p.m., the USU Observatory opens its doors for an opportunity to view Cache Valley’s spring sky.

“We invite the Cache Valley community to enjoy views of the night sky from our state-of-the-art facility,” says James Coburn, Physics Department teaching laboratory supervisor and USUO coordinator. “We’ll search for the Comet Pan-STARRS, the Orion Nebula, the Moon and Jupiter.”

Located on the roof of USU’s Science Engineering Research (SER) building, the observatory houses a 20-inch reflecting telescope on a computerized mount that yields clear, crisp images of faraway planets and deep space objects. The observatory’s unique, half-circle building, designed and constructed by USU Facilities, features a circular staircase that leads to the telescope gallery topped with a metal dome measuring 16.5 feet in diameter.

IMPORTANT:  All attendees are encouraged to visit the USUO website before arriving on public night, as the gathering will be cancelled in the event of cloudy or inclement weather.

The observatory’s telescope is accessible by stairs only from the SER building’s roof.

Parking for the event is available in surface lots near the Performance Hall at 1090 East 675 North on the USU campus. The SER building is southwest of the Performance Hall. To access the observatory, visitors should take the freight elevator located at the northwest corner of the first floor of the SER building to the roof. For directions, visit the observatory parking website.

USU students are the primary beneficiaries of the observatory, which was completed in 2009. More than 800 Aggies are enrolled in fall astronomy classes, which afford them access to USUO.

Related links:

USU Department of Physics

USU College of Science

Contact: James Coburn, 435-797-3014,

Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517,

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