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Caty Pilachowski
Department of Astronomy

Hal Kibbey
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Monday, March 19, 2007

Kirkwood Observatory to re-open for public viewing

March 19, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Saturn and its famous rings are prominent in the southern sky. Indiana University's Kirkwood Observatory will be open to the public for free viewing of Saturn and other delights of the night sky beginning on Wednesday (March 21), 9 p.m. - 11 p.m. If the sky is overcast that night, the "rain date" is March 28 at the same hours.

"Saturn is always a favorite object, and this is the perfect time to look. We're delighted to be able to share a view of Saturn with everyone as part of our grand opening for 2007," said Caty Pilachowski, chair of the IU Department of Astronomy.

Each Wednesday evening until November, Kirkwood Observatory will be open for public viewing through the 12-inch telescope. No reservations are required, and admission is free. The observatory is located on the Bloomington campus a short distance east of the intersection of Fourth Street and Indiana Avenue.

Objects in the night sky available for viewing depend on the season and usually include the bright planets, star clusters and the moon, when they are visible. The open house is not held if the sky is mostly or completely cloudy.

The hours when the telescope is available for public viewing are listed at

The observatory is not open during the winter months between Thanksgiving and spring break. Also, the observatory is not available during weeks when classes are not in session because of semester breaks or vacations.

Kirkwood Observatory was constructed in 1900 and dedicated on May 15, 1901. IU President Joseph Swain spoke about his teacher and mentor, Daniel Kirkwood, for whom Kirkwood Hall and Kirkwood Avenue also were named. Kirkwood's research on comets, meteors and asteroids established a tradition of astronomical research at Indiana University.

For more information about viewing the sky through the observatory's telescope, contact the IU Department of Astronomy at 812-855-6911 or