Saturn, Orion Nebula to be Visible from JMU Astronomy Park

From: Public Affairs

April 15, 2009

HARRISONBURG—The James Madison University Department of Physics and Astronomy invites the public and the JMU community to take a free and close-up view of Saturn and the Orion Nebula from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 17, at the JMU Astronomy Park.

Saturn, which is in the constellation Leo, is the sixth planet from the Sun and is the second largest planet in the solar system. Saturn is situated so viewers will see the outer edge of the rings, an occurrence that happens about every 15 years.

The Orion Nebula is one of the most famous and easily viewed deep-sky sights. It holds special significance for researchers as the nearest region of massive star formation.

Those who come out to the astronomy park, on the grassy mall beside the Physics and Chemistry Building on JMU's campus east of Interstate 81, will be able to view Saturn and the Orion Nebula through 10-inch telescopes. Binoculars also will be available.

Plenty of parking will be available in Lot D-2 across Carrier Drive from the Physics and Chemistry Building. A campus map is available at: http://www.jmu.edu/map/.