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WKU will host viewing of ‘non-Doomsday’ asteroid on 12/12/12

Join the Hilltopper Astronomy Club and faculty from WKU’s Department of Physics & Astronomy in the lobby of Thompson Complex Central Wing at 7 p.m. Wednesday (Dec. 12) for an opportunity to view Asteroid 4179 Toutatis as it makes a close approach to Earth.

Contrary to recent Doomsday predictions, this “potentially hazardous object” will come no closer to Earth than about 18 times the distance of the moon – or about 4.3 million miles. The peanut-shaped, 2.5 miles by 1 mile sized asteroid has passed closer to Earth in the past. Named for the Celtic god Toutatis, the asteroid can be viewed through telescopes in the direction of the constellation Pisces.

Asteroid 4179 Toutatis’ non-encounter with Earth occurs on Anti-Doomsday Day, declared for 12/12/12. The evening is a refreshing excuse to view the heavens and engage in reasoned discourse and rational curiosity to counter Doomsday concerns related to the supposed Mayan prediction of the end of time.

A brief indoor program will be presented if weather conditions do not permit observing. Meet in the lobby of Thompson Complex, Central Wing (next door to the Hardin Planetarium). Admission is free. Participants are encouraged to dress warmly. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

(More: Hardin Planetarium presentation on 2012 Doomsday: Predicting an End, or Just a Cycle? continues through Dec. 23.)

Contact: Dr. Richard Gelderman, (270) 745-6203.

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