Tom Smart, Deseret News
Moon over the Wasatch mountains Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah has a new location for people who enjoy outer space. The Astronomy Outreach Center will begin operating Wednesday, June 11, at 7 p.m. with an open house, lecture and party to observe the sun and stars.

The U.'s Department of Physics and Astronomy previously held star parties on the roof of the South Physics Building. The new space, in room 408 below the rooftop observatory, finally provides a permanent, roughly 30-seat gathering place for astronomy presentations and demonstrations for the public, students, Scouting and community groups, and private and public star parties.

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The center also will be the base for remote-controlled operations of the U.'s Willard L. Eccles Observatory at the 9,600-foot level on Frisco Peak in southern Utah.

The June 11 opening will feature public use of solar telescopes at 7 p.m., a brief presentation about the sun at 8:40 p.m. followed by a public star party.

Free parking will be available after 6 p.m. in the two parking lots east of the South Physics Building. More details and a map are found at

To request and schedule a public astronomy event, schools, community organizations and other groups should email