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.