Pixel Tracker

Monday, December 10 , 2018, 4:14 am | Fair 49º


Westmont Obersvatory to Turn Telescope to Jupiter, Mars for Public Viewing

The Westmont Observatory houses the Keck Telescope, a 24-inch f/8 Cassegrain reflecting instrument with Ritchey-Chretien optics. Click to view larger
The Westmont Observatory houses the Keck Telescope, a 24-inch f/8 Cassegrain reflecting instrument with Ritchey-Chretien optics. (Westmont College photo)

Jupiter and Mars will be the focus of June’s free public viewing of the stars at the Westmont Observatory beginning at 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 17.

Despite a near-full moon, Westmont’s Keck Telescope, a 24-inch f/8 Cassegrain reflecting instrument with Ritchey-Chretien optics, will zoom in on Jupiter, which will be about 40 degrees above the horizon.

“If the sky is clear, we should be able to glean some details on the face of this giant gas ball,” says Thomas Whittemore, Westmont physics instructor. “The four Galilean moons of Jupiter should be easily seen tonight. Maybe we will glimpse a couple more moons with Westmont’s 8-inch refractor telescope, too.”

Mars, which is about a month past opposition, when the viewing of the Red Planet is optimal, has been in retrograde motion, moving from left to right in the sky in Libra.

“This places Mars a bit higher in the sky at viewing time than it was last month,” Whittemore says, “but it’s still quite low and susceptible to atmospheric turbulence  This will affect the details we might normally be able to discern through Westmont’s refractor.”

Whittemore will turn a telescope toward some stellar objects away from the near-full moon.  

“Among these are the beautiful double star Regulus, the easily-split pair in Leo, and two wonderful globular clusters, Messier 13 and Messier 3,” he says. “These balls of stars will be nicely positioned during the public outreach.”

The Keck Telescope, one of the most powerful on California’s Central Coast, is available to the public every third Friday of the month at the observatory in conjunction with the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit, whose members bring their own telescopes to the college for the public to gaze through.

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

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 using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • 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 >

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 >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Cimme Eordanidis
Cimme Eordanidis
"Since I truly enjoy doing what I do, interacting with people and representing them during one of life's most exciting events is very rewarding."

Full Profile >