On Feb. 9, there was a demonstration of vast importance at the open house at the ETSU Observatory. This open house was presented by Dr. Richard Ignace and accompanied by Dr. Frank Hagelberg, both of which are professors at ETSU’s Physics and Astronomy Department. The open house was an informative way to learn about various different particulars about the wide mystery that is the universe.

“The goal of the open houses are to expose people to the wonders of the night sky, and to provide varied content through the presentations on astronomy as a science, and on how astronomy has and will continue to influence society,” Ignace said.

With the theme of this open house, Ignace informed attendees about the reality, danger and effect that outside objects have when they impact the earth. These impacts range from small craters to climate change to mass extinction. Ignace also informed attendees on how to defend against possible catastrophic impacts from asteroids and other celestial bodies.

“The ETSU Observatory has regular open houses for the general public throughout the academic year for night viewing,” said Ignace. “Like any subject, astronomy interfaces with other disciplines in interesting ways. Each open house includes a brief presentation by a member of faculty from the Department of Physics & Astronomy. Topics range widely and have included everything from archeoastronomy to colonizing other worlds.”

The ETSU Observatory open houses are free to the general public and are held usually once a month as long as the weather permits. During each open house, the telescopes will be set up and available for visitors to view the stars, planets and constellations while ETSU astronomers will be available to answer questions. Observatory open houses will be canceled if the sky is cloudy, so be sure to check in before going.

If you are worried about the weather conditions, you can call and confirm the status beforehand. Contact the Observatory at 423-929-3382. More information on open houses can be found at https://www.etsu.edu/cas/physics/observatory/starparty.php