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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2010
College of the Canyons Star Party Aims at Saturn
The name has a lot of meanings. To some, Saturn is the Roman god of agriculture. To others, Saturn is a much-beloved, now-defunct car company. But most everyone knows Saturn as one of the most interesting and mysterious planets in our solar system.
The ancients knew this planet because they could see it as a bright spot in the sky with the naked eye. They assigned myths and stories to its movements and eventually named it after a god. Today, we know it as the sixth planet from our sun and, because we have the advantage of telescopes and space probes, we know a lot more about it than the ancients did. There is no telling what they might have named it if they had been able to see its rings, its moons and the other details mankind has learned about it over the centuries.
But Saturn still has its mysteries.
College of the Canyons will help you explore both what scientists know about the planet as well as its mysteries as it hosts its second Star Party at the Carl A. Rasmussen Amphitheater on the college’s Canyon Country campus from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, May 21.
College faculty members and amateur astronomers will be on hand with lots of information and a number of telescopes so, unlike the ancients, people will be able to get a fantastic view of this second-largest planet that revolves about our sun.
Star Party attendees are encouraged to come early with picnic blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy a festive atmosphere as the sun sets in the west and Saturn emerges as the “star” of the evening.
“Last year we focused on Jupiter,” said Dr. Dena Maloney, founding dean of the Canyon Country campus and vice president of economic development, “and the evening turned into something special for everyone who attended. This year, Saturn will take center stage and the evening will be even better!”
The success of last year’s Star Party was due in large part to the enthusiasm and efforts of Dr. Ram Manvi who, at the time, was the college’s dean of mathematics, sciences and engineering technologies and who had worked for many years at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Dr. Manvi died suddenly in February of this year. A portion of the concession sales from this year’s Star Party will be earmarked for the Dr. Ram Manvi Memorial Scholarship.
A short orientation lecture will precede the opportunities to view Saturn through telescopes provided for that purpose.
Did you know?
- • Saturn is 885,000,000 miles from the sun
- • Galileo first observed its rings through a telescope in 1610
- • Saturn's most striking feature is its ring system, which consists of countless chunks of ice the size of dust particles to pieces as big as 10 meters.
- • The planet has 60 known moons
- • Saturn is made mainly of hydrogen and helium. It has no definite surface but likely has a rocky inner core surrounded by a layer of liquid metallic hydrogen.
- • Surface temperature: midday-300 degrees C.
- • It takes Saturn 28.5 Earth years to make one orbit around the sun although though it rotates in just over 10.5 hours. Long years, short days!
- • The planet has been visited by the Pioneer 11, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes and the Cassini spacecraft.
Want to know more about Saturn or astronomy or the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus? Then bring your friends and family to this unique, educational and fun event!
The Star Party is one of many events being hosted by College of the Canyons as part of its 40th Anniversary celebration.
For more information about this event, please call the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus at (661) 362-3801.