Rowan hosts astronomy open house

Rowan hosts astronomy open house

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The Department of Physics & Astronomy in the College of Science & Mathematics at Rowan University, Glassboro, will host an astronomy open house for the university community and the general public on Thursday, March 22. (The rain date is Friday, March 23.)

The Edelman Planetarium will be open for two free shows at 6:30 and 7 p.m. The weather call will be posted on the planetarium website (www.rowan.edu/planetarium) by 2 p.m. on the day of the event. More information is available on Facebook at RUPlanetarium.

Observations of the night sky will begin at 7 p.m. and end at 9:30 p.m. on the Science Hall roof. Telescopes will be set up on the rooftop observation deck, which is accessible via the west elevator. (Take the elevator to the fourth floor Ready Room and exit onto the roof by the outside door located on the far wall.) The 0.4-m research telescope also will be open for viewing. (On exiting the elevator, turn left and go up the steps to the observatory.) Faculty and members of the student-run Astronomy Club will be present to operate the telescopes and assist in helping visitors enjoy the experience.

The sun sets at 7:14 p.m. The moon is near first quarter and appears in Taurus, about 13 degrees below and to the left of the Pleiades. Venus should be visible just after sunset low in the west. The winter constellations Orion, Taurus, Gemini and Auriga still are visible but lower in the sky. Notable deep-sky objects include the Great Nebula in Orion; the Pleiades in Taurus; the Beehive Cluster in Cancer; and the sky’s brightest star, Sirius, in Canis Major. The six-star system Mizar and Alcor in the handle of the Big Dipper will be visible.

Those wanting to see what objects are visible in the night sky on this date can get a free monthly sky map from www.skymaps.com. The program coordinators also recommend the free app Star Chart for smartphones (available for iOS and Android).

Directions to and a map of campus are here.