UNL’s Behlen Observatory near Mead will be open to the public from 7:30 to 10 p.m. April 11.
Provided the sky is clear, visitors will be able to view a variety of objects with the observatory’s 30-inch telescope and smaller telescopes set up outside of the observatory. These include the moon, Jupiter, a star cluster and double stars. At 8 p.m. a member of the observatory staff will present a program.
Jupiter will be high in the evening sky this month. It has 67 known moons, but only four of them are large enough to be easily visible in the 30-inch telescope. Those four, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, are similar in size to the smallest planet, Mercury, and are known as the Galilean moons because they were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610.
In the 30-inch telescope, the dark and light bands in Jupiter’s atmosphere can be seen. Because they are cloud patterns, the appearance of the planet changes over time and seldom looks the same twice.
There is no admission charge for the public night. Further information can be found on the observatory website at http://astro.unl.edu/observatory/.