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Steve Chaplin
University Communications

Last modified: Monday, March 21, 2011

Historic Kirkwood Observatory announces renewal of weekly stargazing open houses

March 21, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's historic Kirkwood Observatory begins its annual season of free stargazing open houses for the public on Wednesday (March 23) with an evening that will afford visitors a chance to handle meteors that are billions of years old and to view glimpses of celestial objects through the observatory's telescope.

Kirkwood Observatory

Indiana University's historic Kirkwood Observatory will begin its annual series of weekly open houses March 23.

Print-Quality Photo

Guests will also be able to view themselves standing in infrared light, peruse a collection of 3D astronomy posters and tour the historic facility that begins a season of evening public viewing sessions every Wednesday and on the first Saturday of each month. The observatory is closed each year during the winter months due to the inclement weather and the fact that it's not heated inside the dome, and the facility may be closed on cloudy viewing nights. The season-opening event this Wednesday (March 23) will be held rain or shine.

Due to Daylight Saving Time in Indiana, the sky will not be dark enough for observing with the telescope until late in the evening so viewing times will run from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Wednesdays until April, when hours will run from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. These are the earliest possible hours to still have the sky dark enough to view with the Kirkwood telescope. First Saturday open houses will be held monthly from 1-3 p.m., March through August.

Located just northeast of the corner of Fourth Street and Indiana Avenue at the wooded edge of campus, the observatory will remain open to the public for night sky viewing each Wednesday evening through November. The observatory, which was built in 1900, along with Kirkwood Avenue and Kirkwood Hall are all named for Daniel Kirkwood, the renowned astronomer who spent more than 30 years at IU before his death in 1895.

For a complete list of viewing schedules and for weather closings at the observatory, visit the link here or call the observatory hotline at 812-855-7736. To receive a monthly announcement about Kirkwood Observatory events, subscribe to the observatory's Astronomy List Server by sending an e-mail to Group showings are also available by contacting the IU Astronomy Department at 812-855-6911 or by sending an email to

For more information please contact Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896 or