The moon, Jupiter and the Orion Nebula, among other celestial objects, will be the highlights of four open houses at the Osten Observatory at Concordia University, Nebraska. The observatory will be open from 8 to 9:30 p.m. on March 23, 24, 25 and 26. Admittance is free, and the public is invited to attend.
Led by Professor of Physics Dr. Robert Hermann, visitors will be able to view a number of celestial objects through Concordia’s computer-controlled telescope. Hermann will share a brief explanation of each item, and visitors may ask questions. Viewing all objects takes approximately 15 minutes.
“We will cycle through the objects, so everyone will see everything no matter when they arrive,” Hermann said.
Through Concordia’s telescope, the details of Earth’s moon can be seen clearly, and Jupiter and its moons will also be visible in the night sky. Viewers may look at the Great Orion Nebula, a region where new stars are forming, and a star cluster full of several thousand stars. If the sky is dark enough, the nearby Whirlpool Galaxy may also be visible.
The observatory is located at the northeast corner of campus along East Hillcrest Drive in Seward. The path to the observatory is not paved, so visitors should prepare to walk across a short length of field. If sky conditions are cloudy or excessive winds occur at the 8 p.m. starting time, the viewing will be cancelled.
The observatory and telescope were gifted to Concordia in 2002 by 1933 alumnus Reuben Osten and his wife, Doris.