Lecture and stargazing: 'Friday Nights, Celestial Lights' on Friday, May 20

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(May 16, 2011)--UTSA's faculty astronomers invite the community to the UTSA Main Campus on Friday, May 20 to enjoy "Friday Nights, Celestial Lights." With an expected viewing of Saturn, the family-friendly astronomy event is free and open to the public.

The evening will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a one hour lecture, "Kepler at Two: An Update on the Search for Earth-sized Planets" by Eric Schlegel, Vaughn Family Professor in the UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy, in Science Building Room 2.02.02 on the UTSA Main Campus.

The Kepler mission was launched in March 2009 for a minimum three-year and planned six-year mission to survey a portion of the Milky Way in a search for Earth-sized and other planets. Schlegel will give an update on the mission to date.

At approximately 8:15 p.m., weather permitting, attendees will view the night sky using UTSA telescopes including a 15-inch telescope and several 8-inch Cassegrain telescopes. Night viewing will be from the fourth-floor patio of the Science Building, which is wheelchair accessible. If the sky is clear, attendees can expect to see Saturn.

The monthly "Friday Nights, Celestial Lights" events began in 2009 as a celebration of the International Year of Astronomy, commemorating the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei using a telescope to observe the heavens. Scheduled the third Friday each month, the series is sponsored by the UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy.

To learn more, contact UTSA Vaughan Family Professor Eric Schlegel at at 210-458-6425 or lecturer Mark Jurena at 210-458-4922.