* WHAT: Third annual University of Washington astronomy department open house.
* WHEN: Saturday, May 12, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
* WHERE: UW Physics/Astronomy Building, ‘A’ wing, corner of Northeast Pacific Street and 15th Avenue Northeast.
DETAILS: The free event will feature planetarium shows, astronomers discussing science fiction movies, talks by UW faculty and students, tours of the sundial that adorns the side of the building, demonstrations of the department’s two-story Foucault pendulum, and hands-on astronomy for children and adults. Activities include sessions on meteorites and space rocks and demonstrations of how to make a star finder, a star clock and a universe.
Topics of talks and demonstrations will include the old UW observatory, where a mini-open house will be held, and the modern Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, where telescope observations are controlled via the Internet. The old observatory, at the north edge of the UW campus, was built in 1895 and is the second-oldest building on campus. It has a 6-inch telescope, one of the oldest instruments in the West, but is not used for scientific research. The Apache Point Observatory in the mountains of New Mexico is where much of today’s UW astronomy research is conducted. The gravitational-wave observatories of the future, such as the LIGO Hanford Observatory, also will be featured.
For more information, contact the astronomy department at (206) 543-2888.