Public Viewing Zooms in on Rings of Saturn

The ringed-planet Saturn will be the focus of this month’s free, public viewing Friday, Aug. 18, beginning about 8 p.m. and lasting several hours at the Westmont Observatory. This summer has featured some of the best views of Saturn’s rings in nearly 15 years. Westmont’s Keck Telescope, a 24-inch F/8 Cassegrain reflecting instrument with Ritchey-Chretien optics, is housed in the observatory between Carr Field and the track and field/soccer complex. Free parking is available near the baseball field.

The viewing will also focus on Messier objects, including the Great Globular Cluster (M13) and the colorful Ring Nebula (M57), which is the atmospheric remains of a white dwarf star.

The observatory opens its doors to the public every third Friday of the month in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit, whose members bring their own telescopes to Westmont for the public to gaze through.

The Westmont Observatory will not be open for the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21.