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MEDIA CONTACT: Paige Garrido

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

BOCA RATON, Fla. (December 23, 2013)   – Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science Astronomical Observatory will host an open dome event for the observation of Jupiter at opposition to the Sun.  The event will take place on Friday, January 3 from 7 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.  

Jupiter will be at opposition to the Sun on January 5, which means that the outer planet appears to be on the opposite side of the sky from the Sun. This happens when the Earth gets in line directly between the outer planet and the Sun.

“We'll be as close as we can be to the planet for this orbital pass and it will provide us with the best observations for the year,” said Eric Vandernoot, astronomy and physics lab coordinator in the department of physics at FAU. “If you have ever wanted to have a good look at Jupiter, this is the time to do it.”

The open dome viewing will include a series of astronomical events throughout the night including an eclipse of Jupiter by one of its moons; a special view of the Great Red Spot; an eclipse of another moon, Io; and a view of Ganymede’s shadow on Jupiter.  In addition to these events, a meteor shower will also take place. For the exact timing of each event, visit:

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. Vandernoot will be leading discussions throughout the night to provide information about Jupiter, its moons and possible new theories about the formation of the solar system. Parking is available in lot 6, adjacent to the Science and Engineering building.

FAU students, faculty and staff, as well as the local community, are encouraged to come to this free event.  

For more information, contact Eric Vandernoot at 561-297-3380 or  .


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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