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Open house night at Middlebury College Observatory April 23

April 15, 2004

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-On the evening of Friday, April 23, from 8:30-10 p.m., the Middlebury College Physics Department will hold an open house at Bicentennial Hall's rooftop observatory, weather permitting.  There is no set program; the public is invited to come anytime during these hours.  Admission is free. 

According to Middlebury College Professor of Physics Frank Winkler, the best of the solar system will be well placed for viewing throughout the evening.  Venus, Mars and the crescent moon will be closely grouped in the western sky, while Saturn and Jupiter will be farther to the south and west along the zodiac. 

The observatory dome houses a 24-inch computer-controlled telescope, and several smaller telescopes also will be available on the roof deck for observing planets, the moon and other objects.  Saturn with its rings and Jupiter with its moons both make for great viewing through all the telescopes.

Since cloud cover obscures visibility, the open house nights will take place only if the sky is reasonably clear.  If the weather appears uncertain, call the observatory at 802-443-2266 after 6 p.m. on the evening of the open house for a status report.

Bicentennial Hall is located on Bicentennial Way on the western edge of the Middlebury College campus.  Visitors should follow state Route 125 West from the village center through the campus.  Bicentennial Way, which is the second right after the flashing light at the crest of the hill, leads to a parking lot and Bicentennial Hall.  Enter the building and take the elevators to the top floor, following the signs. 

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