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Saturn takes center stage at Utah star party Saturday night

Published July 3, 2014 2:00 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utahns who want to get a close-up view of Saturn have the chance this Saturday night.

The Salt Lake Astronomical Society is hosting a star party from dusk (about 8:30 p.m.) to 11 p.m. at the Stansbury Park Observatory Complex, lovingly called SPOC.

Jupiter may be visible just after sundown, but Saturn will be high in the night sky. The star party coincides with the 10th anniversary of the June 30, 2004, launch of the Cassini spacecraft, which has been sending back images of the planet for the past several years.

"Cassini has taken us all around this glorious planet showing us the symmetric and startling beauty of our sun's sixth planet," said Ann House, SLAS vice president.

The star party is free, family-friendly and gives access to the state's largest telescope available for public observing. Participants are welcome to bring their own telescopes, as well.

Pete Wilensky, meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said it "looks like there's a good chance for clear skies," Saturday night. Lows will dip into the mid- to upper-60s, so a sweatshirt may be in order, but it looks like it will be a mild, clear night.

smcfarland@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sheena5427 —

Driving directions

From Salt Lake City, take I-80 west and exit at the Tooele/Grantsville exit. Continue south until the road forks to Grantsville. Take the right fork and go about 1 mile, to the west entrance of Stansbury Park. Turn in and take the first right to the parking lot. The observatory is located west of the parking area just past the skateboard park.