Stargaz­ers in­vited to join Cassini mis­sion


THE CASSINI MIS­SION to Saturn is con­sid­ered one of the great­est space ex­plo­ration mis­sions of all time and now Wick­low ob­servers will get a chance to learn all about this his­toric ex­pe­di­tion.

The Cassini space­craft was blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida in Oc­to­ber 1997 on a mis­sion to ex­plore Saturn and other moons or­bit­ing the planet. Saturn's largest moon, Ti­tan, will be tar­geted be­cause there is so lit­tle known about it.

A great deal has changed since that date in Oc­to­ber, the same year Princess Diana died, the comet Hale-Bobb en­thralled all who set eyes on it and Ti­tanic was to be­come the most suc­cess­ful movie of all time.

Lo­cal as­tronomer, Deirdre Kel­leghan, will give a fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into the mis­sion with a free talk tak­ing place in the Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre at the Up­per Lake Car Park in Glen­dalough on March 12 at 7 p.m..

If the sky is clear af­ter the talk Deirdre, along with The Ir­ish As­tro­nom­i­cal So­ci­ety, South Dublin As­tro­nom­i­cal So­ci­ety and friends, hope to share with vis­i­tors the first quar­ter moon, other won­ders and maybe even Saturn, if the planet rises high enough be­fore 10 p.m. when the pub­lic star gaz­ing ends.

Deirdre, for the past num­ber of years, has been a mem­ber of the Saturn Ob­ser­va­tion Cam­paign.

Ring Wick­low Moun­tains Na­tional Park at around 2 p.m. on the day of the star gaz­ing event in or­der to make sure it's go­ing ahead, as it is highly de­pen­dent on the weather.

The Cassini Mis­sion talk will hap­pen re­gard­less of the weather.

The park can be con­tacted at (0404) 45656.

You can also keep in touch with the won­ders of the night sky by lis­ten­ing to Jane Hous­ton Jones ‘What's Up' on the NASA So­lar Sys­tem Ex­plo­ration Page­http://so­larsys­tem.nasa.go v/in­dex.cfm.

You may also want to check out if you can spot a paint­ing Deirdre has on the page.

A pho­to­graph of the planet Saturn which was taken from the Cassini space­craft which left Cape Canaveral in Florida in Oc­to­ber, 2007.

A group of stargaz­ers get­ting ready to ex­plore the Wick­low skies.

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