April 1, 2010

April Stargazing Night Focuses on Mars, Spiral Cloud, April 16

ngc_2903.jpgA free public stargazing night focusing on Mars and on the bright star cloud NGC 2903 is set from 9-11 p.m. on April 16 at the Sonoma State University outdoor observatory. "Viewed at an angle, NGC 2903 is a beautiful spiral, well worth coming out to see," says Professor Scott Severson, director of the outdoor observatory program. It is about 20.5 million light-years away in the constellation Leo.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy hosts the event, offering its high powered telescopes to all to view the night sky.

The campus outdoor observatory is located at an outbuilding in the dark southeast corner of the SSU campus. Parking is available in Lots E and F. Parking is $2.50 parking fee for those who do not have an SSU parking permit. Visitors are urged to wear comfortable shoes and warm clothing, and bring a flashlight.

The next stargazing event features the "The Heart of the Virgo Cluster" on Friday, May 14.

For more details and a map to the observatory visit http://www.phys-astro.sonoma.edu/publicviewingnight.

Visitors should call (707)664-226 before coming if it appears possible that clouds or fog may force cancellation.

For further information, contact Scott Severson, Director, Public Programs, scott.severson@sonoma.edu, or (707) 664-2376.

ABOVE, star cloud NGC 2903.

Jean Wasp
Media Relations Coordinator
University Affairs
(707) 664-2057