Tuesday, April 24 , 2018, 5:43 am | Fog/Mist 51º

 
 
 
 

Free Westmont Observatory Viewing to Zoom in on Lunar Craters, Jupiter

The Westmont Observatory, which houses the Keck Telescope, opens its doors to the public once a month. Click to view larger
The Westmont Observatory, which houses the Keck Telescope, opens its doors to the public once a month. (Westmont College photo)

Jupiter and several impact craters on the moon will be the focus of this month’s free public viewing of the stars with Westmont College’s powerful Keck Telescope beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 15, 2016. and lasting several hours at the Westmont Observatory.

The best viewing generally occurs later in the evening. Jupiter and the moon will be fairly close to one another, high in the sky, in Leo Friday evening. 

“Since the moon will be a little more than nine days old, it will present a nice gibbous face where many impact crater shadows will come into view,” said Thomas Whittemore, Westmont physics instructor.

“Particularly interesting will be the triplet of craters: Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzachel. If the seeing is steady, we should be able to see some detail on the impact mountains in Alphonsus and Arzachel,” he said. “Since Jupiter will be near zenith at viewing time, we may also see some fine details on the surface of the planet.”

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.

Members of the SBAU will also be available to give the public a naked eye view of the night sky, often with the aid of green-pointer lasers. 

“It’s April, and it looks like some of the much-needed rain is back in business,” Whittemore said. “At this time of year, the Big Dipper contributes to the evening showers with its bowl pointed down, releasing some celestial water into the bowl of the Little Dipper, whose bowl is currently oriented upwards in the early evening. 

“While the public waits for the big telescope to unveil some dimmer objects, folks should feel free to ask our club members for a tour of the constellations. Our club would be very happy to accommodate their request,” he said.

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.

Scott Craig is the manager of media relations at Westmont College.

 
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >