"The Physics of Santa" on December 13, 2019

December 13, 2019 - The Etelman Observatory had it's second open observing evening on December 13, 2019 from 7 pm to 10 pm. Through RSVPs, guests were able to enter the observatory as well as listen to presentations by Physics faculty and staff and observe the stars through telescopes.


In the dome of the Observatory, Dr. David Smith, retired Physics professor of the University of the Virgin Islands and volunteer, goes into a brief history of the Etelman Observatory and explains the functions of the Virgin Islands Robotic Telescope (VIRT).

Priyadarshini "Priya" Gokuldass, an Observatory Specialist, shows guests the computers used to operate the telescope. With the program installed on the computer, she is able to align the telescope and take proper images of a desired location in the sky that she would like to observe. There is software that also maps the sky. She also explains that the university does climate change monitoring and solar observations.


Dr. David Morris, Physics professor and Observatory director, does a Christmas presentation on "The Physics of Santa". The existence of Santa Clause is a very controversial question: is he real or is he not real? Dr. Morris has the answers! With the help of Physics, he answers all difficult topics pertaining to Santa Clause such as:

  1. The existence of flying reindeer,
  2. How he is able to travel at an extremely high velocity on Christmas night,
  3. How he doesn't burn from moving at high velocities,
  4. How he has enough fuel to move throughout the night,
  5. How he is able to deliver toys to children all over the world, and
  6. Why we should be asleep on Christmas night.

Merry Christmas!