University of Calgary

Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

February 7, 2011

Rothney Astrophysical Observatory open house

By Leanne Yohemas

The potential for life existing outside of our solar system is an incredible possibility. Come to the University of Calgary’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory the evening of Feb. 12 for an exploration of the latest research on other Earth-like planets in the universe and the new discovery of life found on our planet with a talk by Dr. Phil Langill.

The launch of NASA’s Kepler telescope in spring 2010 has spotted an amazing amount of newly discovered planets orbiting distant stars and several of these are goldilocks planets. They’re not too hot and not too cold but in just the right location in their solar systems to support life. And late last year, NASA discovered a new life form on Earth deep in a California lake. The new discovery changes the scientific concept of what denotes life and therefore changes what astronomers are looking for when exploring new planets.

The sky will offer a great opportunity to observe Jupiter in the early evening and its moons. We’ll have our telescopes operating and astronomers on hand to answer questions. We will kick off the evening with a presentation about what’s up the sky.

The presentation and viewing through RAO telescopes is Saturday, Feb. 12, between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. at the RAO on the east side of Highway 22, 2.4 km south of the Hwy 22 and Hwy 22x interchange. Cost is $20 per car or $10 per person, all proceeds to educational programming.

The open house will be cancelled in the event of extreme weather. Please check the website for updates at

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