Students are welcomed every Wednesday night atop the physics building to view the starry skies. Val Germann of the Central Missouri Astronomical Society has put on these viewings, and has been doing so for the past 18 years.

 

"Upstairs we have the 16 inch telescope and we'll show the planets, whatevers up. We've had Jupiter up this semester which is very nice."

 

Jupiter is amid its 12 year orbit cycle and is in prime viewing range but it's not the first time theyve seen it.

 

"In 1994 a comet broke up and struck Jupiter, 20 some odd pieces, we were up here running the observatory that night and we had probably about 100 people up here and we didn't know what we'd see. First impact was on Sunday night."

 

The comet was later observed as a series of fragments ranging up to 1.2 miles wide in diameter, these comets collided into Jupiter's southern hemisphere at a speed of approximately 134 thousand miles per hour.

 

"That probably was the singlemost awe inspiring thing I've ever seen, is that comet crash."

 

The scars from the impact are more easily visable than the Great Red Spot.

 

"Every once and a while we see events that'll surprise us."

 

From high atop the physics building, I'm Justin Kollar.