The Physics Department is opening Mendel Observatory to the college community and surrounding communities as part of NASA's ninth annual International Observe the Moon Night from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20.
Students and the public will be able to scan the moon using the observatory’s 20-inch Ritchey-Cretian and maybe portable telescopes set up at the prayer labyrinth adjacent to Crowe Plaza.
Austin Wyllie ’20, a mechanical engineering and computer science dual major from Roslindale, MA, suggested taking part in the NASA event as a way of sharing the observatory with the community, said School of Science and Engineering Dean Cindy McGowan.
“It’s a community service that brings attention to the STEM fields,” McGowan said.
The smash hit television show “The Big Bang Theory” that is now in it’s 12th season, has raised interest in physics and the awareness of terrestrial wonders such as stars and black holes, Wyllie said. The Observe the Moon Night will help satisfy some of the curiosity and inform the community about Earth’s nearest terrestrial neighbor.
“It’s geared toward getting the community involved,” he said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to welcome college students – I’ve had so many students tell me ‘I never knew this was up here.’”
The forecast on Saturday calls for partly cloudy skies from 6 to 8 p.m. and clearing afterward.
Wyllie hopes to enlist the assistance of the North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club for the evening.
Wyllie has registered the event with NASA and details can be found at https://moon.nasa.gov/observe-the-moon/annual-event/overview/.