News » Whistler

Stargazers look to Saturn, new moon



The Whistler Astronomy Club is keeping its fingers crossed for clear skies Saturday, April 21, as its members host the public for International Astronomy Day.

Local stargazers will be bringing a wide range of telescopes and binoculars to Rainbow Park from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., inviting the public to take a look at what the evening has to offer. Highlights include the first quarter moon, showing its crater surface in detail, and a view of the planet Saturn — the rings visible using most telescopes.

“It’s a real thrill to show Saturn to someone for the first time through a telescope,” says local astronomer Carol Legate. “The first response is always ‘wow’.”

As well, the spring sky offers views of the Virgo Galaxy Cluster, of which the Milky Way is a part, as well as of the Milky Way itself.

The International Space Station will also make an appearance, on one of its 90-minute orbits of the planet. The recent addition of new solar arrays and living quarters have given the ISS a span of more than 73 metres, which is clearly visible from a distance of 300 miles. It moves fast, but is brighter than any satellite. Look for it at around 10:07 p.m., appearing on the western horizon, and heading to the southwest.

Astronomy Day is free, and participants are encouraged to bring their own telescopes and binoculars.