FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University observatory will hold a pair of public viewing sessions in September: a daylight session and a nighttime session.
The first session will be held Saturday, Sept. 20, from 1 to 3 p.m. This “Sun Day on Saturday” program will feature instruction on how to look at the sun through a telescope. The program will also look at three planets – Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter – that are located near the sun in the sky.
The other session will be an Open House Program, Saturday, Sept. 27, from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Featured astronomical highlights will include galaxies, nebulae, clusters, and stars that show different colors.
These sessions are open to the public free of charge.
These loosely structured viewing programs allow visitors to come and go as they please. If weather conditions block viewing, the sessions will be canceled. The public may call 843-661-1355 for recorded information about the prospect of a clear sky to allow the events to be held.
The FMU observatory is located beyond the outfield fence of the FMU Softball Field, south of the Smith University Center. Visitors can park in Lot D at the southern end of the campus and follow the walkway to the observatory.
Persons requiring special assistance to visit the observatory, or seeking more information, may call 843-661-1441. The observatory webpage is http://astro.fmarion.edu/observe/
The Dooley planetarium on the FMU campus will also present a program, titled “Autumnal Equinox,” at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14. This program is also open to the public free of charge.