This is your chance to see Saturn

A GROUP of stargazers will soon be landing in Ipswich to offer the astronomically curious a clearer view into space.

Although only a relatively new organisation, the Scenic Rim Astronomy Association is keen to offer members of the public the chance to see the planets, far away galaxies, star clusters and nebula in a way that can't be fully appreciated with the naked eye.

They will bring a dozen or so high- powered telescopes to Ivor Marsden Park at Amberley on July 14.

Secretary Mark Lohmann said mid-winter was the perfect time for planetary observations, as the sky was usually at its clearest.

Mid July also coincides with the new moon, meaning that the stars will be at their brightest.

"We'll have each of the telescopes pointed at different points of interest in the sky," Mr Lohmann said.

"Saturn will be looking magnificent - the rings are sitting nicely at the moment.

"You'll be able to see the rings and the variation in the colour of the rings. It almost glows - it gives off more light than what hits it. The reaction of most people is 'Wow!'."

A better view of our close neighbours Mars and Venus will also be on offer on the night, which begins just after sunset.

Members of the public are asked to give a gold coin donation to the group so it can continue to fund its public and school viewing program, which Mr Lohmann said taught people about the beauty of what lies beyond our own atmosphere.

"There's a lot of good viewing out there at the moment," he said.

"We only started our own association last February and most of us are still fairly new to it, but there are other clubs whose members have identified comets and things like that.

"The scopes that you can buy now are as big as what they used to have in the Sydney Observatory - the normal household ones are now quite powerful."

Saturn on Show

  • Saturn has at least 17 moons.
  • It takes 29.46 Earth years to travel around the sun.
  • There are more than 10,000 sets of rings around Saturn - made from thin sheets of ice.

Topics:  astronomy

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