Campus Life

'Night of Planets' as USU Observatory Welcomes Public Friday, Sept. 7

The public is invited to view the night sky through the telescope at the USU Observatory Friday, Sept. 7, from 8:30-10:30 p.m. Admission is free.

The Utah State University Observatory opens its doors to the public Friday, Sept. 7. All are invited to view Cache Valley’s night sky from the observatory telescope from 8:30-10:30 p.m. All ages are welcome and admission is free.

“We invite the Cache Valley community for a rare opportunity to see multiple planets at once,” says James Coburn, Physics Department teaching laboratory supervisor and USUO coordinator. “We’ll view Mars and Saturn and also try to see Venus, Jupiter and Neptune.”

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.

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 Caine Performance Hall at 1090 East 675 North on the USU campus. The SER building is southwest of the Caine 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.

Additional observatory public nights are planned during the 2018-19 academic year.
    
USU students are the primary beneficiaries of the observatory, which was completed in 2009. More than 700 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, james.coburn@usu.edu
Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517, maryann.muffoletto@usu.edu
 

Saturn is among several planets astronomy enthusiasts will seek during the USU Observatory Public Night Friday, Sept. 7. All are welcome to the free event. Image courtesy NASA.

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