The public is invited to learn more about a mission to catch a comet at a free Indiana University Kokomo Observatory Open House on Sunday.
Patrick Motl, assistant professor of physics, will begin the open house at 8 p.m. with a talk about the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, which will land a robot on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko later this year.
NASA contributed instruments and science investigators for the 10-year mission to learn more about comets. Rosetta will be the first spacecraft to land a robot on a comet and the first to accompany a comet as it enters our inner solar system.
After the talk, participants may view winter skies through the observatory’s telescopes, weather permitting, until 10 p.m.
“Jupiter will be near a first quarter moon, high in the evening sky for viewing,” Motl said in a press release. “We continue to enjoy winter skies for this month, including the prominent constellations of Orion and Taurus in the winter hexagon.”
The observatory’s telescopes include a 6-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.
The open house is free and open to the public in the observatory, 105 E. Rebecca Lane. Free parking is available on campus.