FMU Observatory to view Mars, Nov. 5, 6, 7
FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University observatory will hold three public viewing sessions during the first week of November to observe the planet Mars as it moves into opposition on Nov. 7.
The observatory will be open Saturday, Nov. 5, from 7 p.m. to midnight, Sunday, Nov. 6, from 7 to 11 p.m., and Monday, Nov. 7, from 7 to 11 p.m. These sessions are open to the public free of charge.
The featured object will be the planet Mars and most of the observatory’s telescopes will be pointed at the fourth planet in the solar system. During opposition, Mars and the sun are on directly opposite sides of Earth, an occurrence that happens about every 26 months. One or two other telescopes will be available for viewing other astronomical objects such as galaxies, nebulae, clusters and stars that show different colors.
The 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. Visitors to the observatory are urged to dress appropriately for the weather as temperatures will be much cooler in the evening hours. Flashlights may be used for walking to the observatory, but visitors will not be allowed to drive out to the observatory unless prior arrangements have been made with the observatory director.
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/