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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Free Viewing of the Summer Sky Resumes at Hirsch Observatory

July 11, 2001

Free Viewing of the Summer Sky Resumes at Hirsch Observatory

Troy, N.Y. — Free, public viewing of the night sky has resumed at the Hirsch Observatory at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and will continue every Wednesday through the end of August.

When the sky is clear and weather permits, the observatory, equipped with a 16-inch telescope, will remain open for three hours beginning at sunset. The observatory is located atop the Jonsson-Rowland Science Center on the Rensselaer campus.

In September and October, the public viewing will move to the same hours on Friday evenings.

Following its closest approach to Earth in June, Mars will remain large and easily observed. The annual return of the Perseid meteor shower occurs in August, and its peak will occur on the morning of August 12. Also visible this summer will be the International Space Station and the usual cast of planetary nebulae, globular clusters, and binary star systems.

Amateur astronomers and physics department graduate students will provide star charts and help identify constellations and other heavenly bodies.

On Friday, Aug. 24, from 1 to 3 p.m., and again on Saturday, Nov. 3, from noon to 3 p.m., the observatory will also offer free solar viewing. By fitting the telescope with special filters, viewers will get a unique, up-close look at the sun.

Contact: Nicolle Zellner, Rensselaer Star Lab, at (518) 276-6763.

Contact: Patrick Kurp
Phone: (518) 276-6531
E-mail: N/A