Mars, Saturn, Full Moon at Public Viewing

Westmont Observatory overlooking Carr Field

Westmont Observatory overlooking Carr Field

Saturn and Mars, hanging low on the southern sky, will be the focus of this month’s free public viewing of the stars Friday, Sept. 16, beginning about 7:30 p.m. and lasting several hours at the Westmont Observatory. Despite a full moon, Westmont’s Keck Telescope, a 24-inch F/8 Cassegrain reflecting instrument with Ritchey-Chretien optics, will zoom in on Mars and Saturn, which will be about 30 degrees above the horizon.

Organizers will hang a moon filter from Westmont’s 8-inch refractor telescope so viewers will be able to see impact eject on the full moon without squinting.

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 Keck Telescope is housed in the observatory between Russell Carr Field and the track and field/soccer complex. Free parking is available near the baseball field.