Saturnís rings, Marsí surface to be visible from JMU Astronomy Park

From: Public Affairs

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 Mars from 8:30 to 10 p.m. Friday, April 2, at the JMU astronomy park.

Saturn, which resides in the constellation Leo, is the sixth planet from the Sun and is the second largest planet in the solar system. Visitors on Friday will be able to see the rings and some of the moons of Saturn.

Mars, often referred to as the ďred planet,Ē is the fourth planet from the sun. The surface markings of Mars will be visible on Friday night.

The waning gibbous moon will be rising in the east, which will make a good target for telescopes to see the moon in its just-past-full phase.

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 Mars through 10-inch telescopes.

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/.

March 31, 2010