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Drake Observatory series to explore the solar system

June 11, 2010
News PhotoCONTACT: Tory Olson, 515-271-1834, tory.olson@drake.edu

The Drake Municipal Observatory will begin a new summer series on Friday, June 11, on the solar system with presentations on observing the solar system, planets and other debris.

The series will begin with a discussion titled, "How to Gather Extra-Terrestrial Information," which will highlight how scientists see other solar systems.  

The event will start at 9 p.m. in the observatory at 4898 Observatory Road in Waveland Park on the west side of Des Moines. Parking is available adjacent to the observatory.

The series, which is free and open to the public, will continue each Friday at 9 p.m. through July 16, with a non-technical, illustrated presentation by Charles Nelson or Herbert Schwartz of Drake University's Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Each presentation will be followed by the opportunity to view several stellar objects through the large refracting telescope and several smaller reflecting telescopes.

The programs are held regardless of the weather, although the selection for observation is subject to change due to sky conditions or other special circumstances.

Individuals, families and small groups are welcome to attend the presentations. A parent or responsible adult must accompany children.

The schedule for the remainder of the summer series is listed below:

  • June 18: "What Makes Up a Solar System"
  • June 25: "The Signature Planets"
  • July 2: "Two Small Strange Worlds"
  • July 9: "Hot Rocks and Gassy Giants"
  • July 16: "The Other Debris"

For more information, contact Drake's Department of Physics and Astronomy at 515-271-3141 or email Charles Nelson at charles.nelson@drake.edu.