Wellesley College's Whitin Observatory will present a public open house and talk this Saturday, March 3, from 8 - 10 PM. The lecture, on the topic "Wellesley's Meteorites," is part of a series public open houses. Weather permitting, guests will be able to gaze at the stars through the Observatory's telescopes.
Astronmy Professor Wendy Bauer will present the observatory's collection of meteorites. She will discuss where meteorites come from and how they're formed, and give brief history of the different types of meteorites in the collection looking at how the composition of each differs. Wellesley's collection, which comprises 15-20 meteorites, includes an Allende Meteorite which were used to date the solar system to 4.55 billion years old.
"Most meteorites in the collection originate from the asteroid belt," said Bauer. "But we also have a piece of a meteorite that originated on Mars and a piece of one that originated on the moon." Visitors will be able to pass around some of the meteorites to experience their weight, texture, and composition first-hand.
The Whitin Observatory is home to the Wellesley College Astronomy Department and houses classrooms, astronomy laboratory facilities, the Astronomy Library, and faculty offices. Built in 1900, and added onto in 1906, 1966, and 2010, it is considered an unusually fine facility for undergraduate training. The next public night will be Friday, March 30, with Professor Dick French discussing “Spectacular Saturn.”
Public nights are free and are held regardless of weather conditions; no reservations required. Children must be supervised by an adult.