Mars in focus at observatory and museum

Theodor Jacobsen Observatory

The first open house of the year at the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory on the UW campus will be held Wednesday, April 4. Photo: Greg Scheiderer.

Another sign of spring arrives this week in Seattle. Twice-monthly open houses resume at the Theodor Jacobsen Observatory on the University of Washington campus. The first event of the year will be held Wednesday, April 4 beginning at 8 p.m.

Dr. Ana Larson, senior lecturer at UW who is the observatory director, will give a talk titled “You Are the First Kid on Mars” based on the book by Patrick O’Brien.┬áLarson will explore effects of microgravity in space, the lower gravity of Mars, and what it might be like should we ever really colonize Mars. Reservations are strongly recommended as the classroom at the observatory holds only 45 people. Mars is just a month past opposition and in prime position for observing. If the weather cooperates visitors will be able to get a look at the Red Planet through the observatory’s vintage telescope, operated by volunteers from the Seattle Astronomical Society. Even if it is cloudy, tours of the observatory are fun and informative.

Open houses at Jacobsen Observatory will be held the first and third Wednesday of every month through October.

Mars will be in the spotlight this weekend at the Museum of Flight, where visitors will be able to take a simulated voyage to the Red Planet through the museum’s Challenger Learning Center. The mission starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 7.┬áCall 206-764-1384 to pre-register. Cost, which includes museum admission, is $15 for adults, $10 for youth under 18, $3 off for museum members.

Keep up with local happenings by visiting the Seattle Astronomy Calendar.

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