Media Relations

Press Release:

MEDIA CONTACT: Patsy Jones

561-297-1307, patsyj@fau.edu


FAU’s Astronomical Observatory to Host
Open Dome Event: ‘Mars at Opposition to the Sun’


BOCA RATON, FL (January 20, 2010) – Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science Astronomical Observatory will host an open dome event for the observation of Mars at opposition to the Sun.  The event will take place on Friday, January 29 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the observatory, which is located in FAU’s College of Science and Engineering building, Room 434, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.  

“If you have ever wanted to have a good look at Mars, this is the time to do it,” said Eric Vandernoot, astronomy coordinator in the department of physics at FAU.

January 29 is the day when Mars will be closest to the Sun until February 2012. This opposition occurs every 780 days.  As it is in opposition, the planet will be visible best at midnight when there is the least amount of visual distorting atmosphere between Earth and the planet. Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System, is sometimes referred to as the “Red Planet due to the iron oxide on its surface giving it a reddish appearance.

FAU's Astronomical Observatory is housed under a four-meter dome and has a telescope that is mounted on a small platform at the top of the stairs looking out over the roof to see the city of Boca Raton and the space beyond.

FAU students, faculty and staff, as well as the local community, are encouraged to come by to witness this occurrence.  

For more information, contact Eric Vandernoot at 561-297-3380 or evandern@fau.edu .

-FAU-

About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses. Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts 10 colleges:  College of Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the College of Business, the College of  Education, the College of  Engineering & Computer Science, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Graduate College,  the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.  

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