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updated: 8/19/2011 12:38 PM

Harper to offer close look at Neptune

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Neptune this week completed its first full orbit around the sun since its discovery 165 years ago, but you don't have to head to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago to get a closer look.

Harper College has a 14-inch telescope at the Karl G. Henize Observatory on its Palatine campus.

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To celebrate the journey of the giant planet, which observatory manager Joe Kabbes says is four times the size and has 17 times more mass than Earth, Harper will host a special Neptune Night from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20.

The observatory will provide one of the best views around of the planet that is 30 times farther from the sun than the Earth. The neighboring Andromeda Galaxy and more should be visible, as well.

Neptune Night is just the latest in a series of free public viewings hosted by Harper. In addition to the main telescope, others will be placed outside on the campus lawn.

The observatory is located in Building O on the northeast part of campus, Algonquin and Roselle roads, Palatine.

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