The physics department will host “Party with the Stars” this Friday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Sam Houston State University Observatory.
Observers will have a chance to see the Comet Holmes, which is shining brighter than ever before.
“On October 24, the comet became visible to the naked eye,” said Michael Prokosch, staff aid to the physics department. “It’s not only getting brighter, it’s getting larger.”
Comet Holmes is the talk amongst astronomers because its size has changed dramatically. Its change is due to the comet breaking apart and collapsing.
“Within a 24 hour period, the comet has become visible and changed from the size of a distant star, to the size of a full moon,” he said. “The comet also appears to have no tail; perhaps because of the angle of our view.”
Some of the physics classes are required to attend Friday’s event, but the invitation is open to all who wish to see the shining comet.
“Taking an astronomy class and never using a telescope is like taking a biology class and never dissecting a frog,” Prokosch said.
Junior Shelley Mahr said students who have not yet been to the Observatory should go because they would really appreciate the experience.
“Before taking PHY 113, I never knew the Observatory existed. I definitely think all students should go at least once,” she said.
Prokosch also feels students should take advantage of this opportunity.
“College students will find the trip worth it, because it is a once in a lifetime event. There will probably never be anything like this again,” he said.
While some students are pursuing their usual schedules this Friday, students in the physics department will experience a one in a lifetime event.
“It’s a cheap date. Kids are also welcome. It’s something different to do on a Friday night,” Prokosch said, “and the weather has been great.”
For more information, contact Prokosch at 294-3664, or the physics department at 294-1601.
Directions to the SHSU Observatory can be found at http://www.shsu.edu/~phy_www/map.pdf.