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New Mexico State University

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NMSU campus observatory plans open house on Tombaugh anniversary

New Mexico State University's astronomy department will hold an open house at the campus observatory on the evening of Friday, Feb. 18 - the 75th anniversary of the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh.


The activities will begin at 6:30 p.m. with Astronomy Professor Anatoly Klypin as host. If weather conditions are favorable - meaning at least 50 percent of the sky is clear and there is no threatening weather - participants will observe the planet Saturn and its largest moon, Titan.

Titan will appear as a star-like speck, but it is of particular interest now because of the Huygens probe, which landed on Titan's surface last month.

Participants also will look at the moon, the Orion nebula and other objects if time and weather permit. Pluto will not be visible.

The campus observatory is named in honor of Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto on Feb. 18, 1930, at Lowell Observatory in Arizona and later spent many years as an NMSU faculty member.

The observatory is located off of Williams Street south of the campus tennis courts. Admission is free and children are welcome. The domes are not heated, so dress accordingly.

For more information call the astronomy department at (505) 646-4438.