Learn about comets: 'Friday Nights, Celestial Lights' is March 16

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(March 14, 2012) -- UTSA faculty astronomers invite the community to attend "Friday Nights, Celestial Lights" at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 16 in Science Building Room 2.02.02 on the UTSA Main Campus. The family-friendly astronomy event is free and open to the public.

With a comets theme, there will be a presentation by Daniel Boice, principal scientist at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).

As an investigator in SwRI's Space Science and Engineering Division, Boyce is recognized as a world-class expert on comets, focusing on their chemical composition and the physical and chemical changes that occur as the comet warms as it nears the Sun.

At 7:30 p.m., weather permitting, attendees will have the opportunity to view the night sky using UTSA's 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 will see the Orion Nebula, the Pleiades and Jupiter.

Sponsored by the UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy, the monthly event 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.

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