Monday, October 11, 2010

The moons of Jupiter attract a crowd!

On October 1st, the JMU Physics and Astronomy Department held a "planet" party at our Astronomy Park, located just behind the Physics and Chemistry Building. The guests of honor were Jupiter and its 4 major moons - this fall they are making their closest approach to earth in the past 50 years. Clear skies and light breezes made for good viewing conditions. Jupiter and its moons were seen by over 400 people through one of our two 10-inch telescopes during the 3.5 hour "planet" party.

Every semester the JMU Physics and Astronomy Department hosts several "star" parties - where we use several of our 10-inch diameter telescopes to probe the night sky. Such shows are free and open to all JMU students, staff, and the general public. We announce the star parties through the main JMU webpage a few days in advance. The telescopes are also used by the JMU Astronomy Club, who can often be found at Astronomy Park checking out the moon, planets, galaxies, and other astronomical objects.