University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
http://www.umn.edu/

Friday Night Public Viewing

University of Minnesota

Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics

Want to become an astronomer?

The Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics is pleased to give you the opportunity through our series of scheduled public viewings. From the rooftop of the physics building, you will have the chance to observe some of the same celestial objects that have inspired sky-gazers throughout history.



Schedule


The Institute schedules public viewing every Friday evening during the University's Fall and Spring semesters. There are also short presentations each week regardless of the weather, so we'll always have something for you. Observing will follow the presentation if the weather is acceptable (clear with wind chill above -15° F, see the FAQ below for additional details).

September 12 – December 12, 2014* 8:00 PM – ~9:30 PM**
*Public night will not be held November 28 due to the Thanksgiving holiday
**Observing may end early in the event of low attendance or unfavorable sky conditions

Each week begins with a short (~20 min.) presentation with time for questions. If the skies are clear, then telescope observing will follow in the dome and possibly also outside on the roof in case of high attendance. Each week has a different topic, so please feel free to visit us several times! If the skies are not clear, the presenters can take any additional questions either about the weekly topic or astronomy in general.

A list of the topics for each week can be found below.

Date Topic Presenters
12-Sept Light as a time machine Michael, Matt
19-Sept Big Bang Cody, David
26-Sept The most distant galaxies Zahra, Ryan
03-Oct Large-scale structure Zahra, Chris
10-Oct The Milky Way and Andromeda David, Robby
17-Oct Life and death of stars Tony, Evan
24-Oct Spacecraft and Satellites Modi, Robby
31-Oct Cosmology Ryan, Chris
07-Nov Astronomical Explosions Michael, Tony
14-Nov Black Holes Cody, Robby
21-Nov Exoplanets and Astrobiology Chris, Matt
28-Nov No public night
05-Dec Galaxies Ryan, Modi
12-Dec Asteroids Evan, Cody

[top]Location


Public viewing is held on the roof of the Tate Laboratory of Physics. Once in the building, take the south elevator to floor 4S. Go down the hallway to room 450 to access the roof. The presentations will occur in room 450 before we move into the dome and onto the roof. If you need help locating our building or finding a good parking spot, try consulting our page on finding the department. Most nearby parking around campus is paid (garages, ramps, and meters).

[top]Groups


Often, girl scout troops and various other groups enjoy attending our public viewing nights. If you would like to bring a large group (more than 15) to public viewing or if you wish to request a separate presentation for your group, contact our Public Outreach Coordinator at least one week prior to the desired observing session.

[top]Accessibility


The Tate Lab of Physics is one of the oldest buildings on campus, and results in a mixed level of wheelchair accessibility for our events. A ramp to enter the building is located on the south side of the building, and the south elevator to floor 4S provides access to the presentation room: attending the talk portion of the event should provide few problems.

Unfortunately, access to the telescopes themselves—whether in the dome or on the roof—requires taking small sets of stairs to reach them. There are roughly 10 steps to enter the telescope dome and 5 to go outside on the roof. In addition, the roof surface is a rough gravel until you reach the wooden observing deckwhich has a narrow ramp with hand rails. In the dome, a rolling ladder is often necessary to reach the eyepiece for viewing.

[top]FAQ