The planet Jupiter will be the star attraction during a public viewing Friday, September 17, at Westmont’s observatory beginning at 7:30 p.m. The Keck Telescope, one of the most powerful public telescopes between San Francisco to Los Angeles, is available for free viewings every third Friday of the month and is held in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit (SBAU).
Jupiter, which has been in the news after being struck by two fireballs this summer, will be low on the horizon at 7:30 p.m., but should be high enough for comfortable viewing by 9:30 p.m.
“The Andromeda Galaxy, our sister galaxy, will surely thrill the public as well,” says Thomas Whittemore, Westmont physics instructor.
The 10-day-old moon, three days after first quarter, will show a number of craters near the terminator, the region on the edge of light and dark on the moon’s surface, including the crater, Copernicus. “Copernicus, which sports a fascinating, terraced rim, will have just advanced into the lighted section of the moon,” Whittemore says. “The center of this crater has one of the most striking mountainous structures on the moon’s surface. All these formations are the results of the impact that created this crater.”
Members of the SBAU also bring their telescopes to the public viewing, which lasts for several hours. The observatory is between Russell Carr Field and the new track. Free parking is available near the baseball field.