The Utah State University Observatory opens its doors to the public Friday, Oct. 5. All are invited to view Cache Valley’s night sky from the observatory telescope from 7:30-9:30 p.m. All ages are welcome and admission is free.
“We invite the Cache Valley community for views of our autumn sky,” says James Coburn, Physics Department teaching laboratory supervisor and USUO coordinator. “Our viewing targets for Oct. 5 are Saturn, Mars, the Lagoon Nebula, the M13 globular cluster, the Andromeda galaxy and the Albireo double star.”
Located on the roof of USU’s Science Engineering Research (SER) building, the observatory houses a 20-inch reflecting telescope on a computerized mount that yields clear, crisp images of faraway planets and deep space objects. The observatory’s unique, half-circle building, designed and constructed by USU Facilities, features a circular staircase that leads to the telescope gallery topped with a metal dome measuring 16.5 feet in diameter.
All attendees are encouraged to visit the USUO website before arriving on public night, as the gathering will be cancelled in the event of cloudy or inclement weather.
The observatory’s telescope is accessible by stairs only from the SER building’s roof.
Parking for the event is available in surface lots near the Caine Performance Hall at 1090 East 675 North on the USU campus. The SER building is southwest of the Caine Performance Hall. To access the observatory, visitors should take the freight elevator located at the northwest corner of the first floor of the SER building to the roof. For directions, visit the observatory parking website.
Additional observatory public nights are planned during fall semester 2018 are Friday, Nov. 2 and Friday, Nov. 30.
USU students are the primary beneficiaries of the observatory, which was completed in 2009. More than 700 Aggies are enrolled in fall astronomy classes, which afford them access to USUO.