UTSA invites public to 'Friday Nights, Celestial Lights Friday, June 17



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(June 15, 2011)--UTSA's faculty astronomers invite the community to the UTSA Main Campus on Friday, June 17 to enjoy "Friday Nights, Celestial Lights." The family-friendly astronomy event is free and open to the public.

The evening will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a lecture, "Cassini-Huygens, 10 Years of Observing Saturn and Its Satellites." The lecture will be given by Mark Jurena, lecturer and lab services supervisor in the UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy, in Science Building Room 2.02.02 on the UTSA Main Campus.

The Cassini-Hugyens mission has been a very successful mission to Saturn that continues to produce results such as the recent discovery of icy volcanism on one of Saturn's satellites. The mission has been extended and renamed the Cassini Solstice Mission because the spacecraft arrived just after Saturn's northern winter solstice. This timing will enable observations of Saturn though a complete season.

At approximately 8:30 p.m., weather permitting, attendees will have the opportunity to view the night sky using UTSA's telescopes including a 15-inch telescope and several 8-inch Cassegrain telescopes. Night viewing will be from the fourth floor patio of the Science Building, which is wheelchair accessible. If the sky is clear, attendees may be able to see Saturn, which dominates the night sky throughout June.

UTSA's monthly "Friday Nights, Celestial Lights" events began in 2009 as a celebration of the International Year of Astronomy, which commemorated the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei using a telescope to observe the heavens. Generally scheduled for the third Friday night each month, the series is sponsored by the UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Reservations to attend the June 17 astronomy event are not required. To learn more, contact Professor Eric Schlegel at 210-458-6425 or lecturer Mark Jurena at 210-458-4922.