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Widener University Observatory offers free public viewing of Mars approaching Earth

Widener Observatory

The Widener University Observatory offers a free public viewing to see Mars in opposition.

Mars will soon make its closest approach to Earth in more than a decade. The Widener University Observatory invites you to see the planet up close using its 16-inch and 12-inch computerized reflecting telescopes. Attend a free public viewing on Monday, May 23 from 9 to 10:30 p.m.

Mars reaches opposition with the sun on May 22, which will position it between the Earth and the sun. About a week later, it will be closest to the Earth. During this period of opposition, which occurs every 26 months, Mars is on its best display. It has a brightness about equal to that of Jupiter and glows a brilliant red-orange color.

“This will be the best opposition event for Mars in more than 10 years,” said Dr. Harry Augensen, a Widener professor of physics and astronomy and director of the Widener Observatory. “Take advantage of our public viewing to see not only the beautiful color of Mars, but also details of its surface like the polar ice caps and dust deposits.”

Because space is limited, participants are encouraged to register in advance. To register, visit and select Monday Twilight Sessions to fill out the online reservation form for May 23. Participants may also call 610-499-4003.

The Widener University Observatory is located on the 5th floor of Kirkbride Hall on 17th and Walnut Streets in Chester, Pa.

*In the event of rain or dense clouds, the viewing will be rescheduled.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university’s campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del. are proud to be a tobacco-free. Visit the university website,