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West campus Astronomy Open House features telescope viewing of Jupiter

February 03, 2014

A telescope viewing of Jupiter and its moons will be the main attraction as the annual Astronomy Open House returns to Arizona State University’s West campus, 4701 W. Thunderbird Road, on Thursday, Feb. 20. Hosted by New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences faculty member Paul Schmidtke, the celestial sightseeing will run from 7 to 9 p.m.

The popular event is held east of the Herberger Young Scholars Academy (FABNX building) on the east side of campus. Parking is available in Lot 12 (the main visitor lot off University Way North) or in Lot 17 (a pay-by-space lot). Visitor parking costs $2 per hour.

“We’ve been hosting the Astronomy Open House at the West campus at least once each semester since 1997,” said Schmidtke, an astronomer with professional interests in the areas of double-star and X-ray astronomy. “For many who join us, it is the first chance to explore the night sky with a telescope. Jupiter is in excellent position for viewing this semester.”

The event is free. Several types of telescopes will be available, including some provided by members of the Phoenix Astronomical Society, which is once again supporting the activities.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for community members to come to the West campus and peek through a telescope at what this desert sky has to offer,” said Schmidtke, who teaches astronomy classes at the West campus. “People are so fascinated with the heavens because observing the sky is one activity that binds everyone together. Some people simply appreciate the beauty, while others want to know the details of how things work.”

For more information, see or contact Schmidtke at