Wednesday, 18 July 2018 15:11

Mars Viewing at Rice Creek to Feature New Start Time

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Stairway to heavens -- Inviting people of all ages July 24 to 31 to SUNY Oswego's observatory at Rice Creek Field Station for the celestial event known as Mars in Opposition, physics faculty members Scott Roby (back left) and John Zielinski (right foreground) join recent graduate Kimberly Smith, a two-year past president of the student Astronomy Club, to demonstrate the facility's 16-inch telescope, one of several that will be in service during the Mars Viewing Party. Stairway to heavens -- Inviting people of all ages July 24 to 31 to SUNY Oswego's observatory at Rice Creek Field Station for the celestial event known as Mars in Opposition, physics faculty members Scott Roby (back left) and John Zielinski (right foreground) join recent graduate Kimberly Smith, a two-year past president of the student Astronomy Club, to demonstrate the facility's 16-inch telescope, one of several that will be in service during the Mars Viewing Party. Submitted photo

Organizers of SUNY Oswego's Mars Viewing Party at Rice Creek Field Station's observatory July 24 to 31 have pushed back nightly start times one hour.

Weather permitting, there will now be an indoor lecture each night at 10:30 p.m. and, from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., opportunities to observe through multiple telescopes Mars in Opposition -- its closest proximity to Earth since 2003 -- and at least two other planets, Jupiter and Saturn.

"The change in time was necessitated because of high mosquito activity before 11 p.m.," said John Zielinski, chief organizer of the viewings for SUNY Oswego's physics department. "There will still be some mosquitoes out after 11, but their number will be greatly reduced."

Besides mosquito repellent, organizers recommended visitors wear shoes, socks, long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and a cap that covers the ears. If nighttime temperatures become cooler, generally after midnight, a light sweater or jacket would be a good idea, Zielinski said. On the plus side, Mars will be higher in the sky at the later time, so more easily visible, he said.

Those planning to attend on any given night need to call 315-312-2680 after 8 p.m. to check on the status of the weather-dependent event. Rice Creek Field Station is on Thompson Road, about a mile south of State Route 104.

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