Last modified: Wednesday, October 26, 2005
"Mars at Midnight"
IU's Kirkwood Observatory will be open for Mars' close approach
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington's Kirkwood Observatory will be open to the public for viewiing Mars' close approach to Earth on Saturday (Oct. 29) from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Admission is free.
Weather permitting, visitors will be able to look at Mars through the observatory's 12-inch telescope. IU astronomers will be on hand to explain what the telescope shows. In the spirit of Halloween, youngsters are encouraged to dress as their favorite alien.
Bright pumpkin-orange Mars will loom large, rising in the east as darkness falls and dominating the sky all night as it crosses high in the south. It will be closer to Earth than at any time since its historic close approach in August 2003. Those who missed seeing Mars then will have another chance this time around when the planet comes closest on the night of Oct. 29-30. Mars won't look so magnificent again for another 13 years.
Kirkwood Observatory is at the edge of the Bloomington campus a short distance east of the intersection of Indiana Avenue and Fourth Street. For a map of the campus that shows the observatory, see http://www.iub.edu/~iubmap/5_19.shtml. A poster for the event can be seen at http://www.astro.indiana.edu/halloween mars small.jpg. For more information, call the IU Department of Astronomy office at 812-855-6911.