Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Department of Physics and Astronomy will conduct its monthly Observatory Open House Feb. 25. The event will get underway at 7 p.m. in room 202 of the Physics Building and will include a presentation and celestial observing.
Roger C. Hunter, a UGA alumnus and project manager of the Kepler Mission for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, will discuss his work. The Kepler spacecraft recently surveyed a section of the Milky Way and has discovered more than 1,200 planetary candidates. These new planets orbiting distant stars far from the Solar System represent the bulk of new exoplanets found to date.Among the 1,200 candidates are 54 planets within their star’s habitable zone (the region around star that has the right temperatures for life to form) and 68 earth-sized planetary candidates. These revolutionary results were released to the public Feb. 1 and represent a milestone for the Kepler Mission.
If the skies are clear, the observing program will be held from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Physics Building. The university’s large, enclosed 24-inch telescope will be trained on the planet Jupiter and other celestial sights. In addition, there will be several smaller telescopes set up on the roof of the Physics Building that will be set on various double stars, the Andromeda Galaxy and glowing gas clouds in star-forming regions. If the weather is cloudy, Hunter will deliver a second presentation at 8 p.m.
Free parking is available immediately to the west and south of the Physics Building. For more information, see www.physast.uga.edu.