Charlie Elliot chapter to host observing Saturn program

Dr. Julius Benton, Jr. will give a presentation at the Charlie Elliot chapter of the Atlanta Astronomy Club on April 5.

Dr. Julius Benton, Jr. will give a presentation at the Charlie Elliot chapter of the Atlanta Astronomy Club on April 5.

MANSFIELD — The Charlie Elliott chapter of the Atlanta Astronomy Club plans to give beginner astronomers some tips to better observe the large ringed planet of Saturn.

Author and Saturn observing expert Dr. Julius L. Benton Jr. will give a presentation at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 5, to explain how beginner and amateur astronomers with basic equipment can see the rings and satellites of Saturn from their own backyard.

Benton said he will first discuss his involvement with the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers and the programs it offers.

ALPO is an international organization devoted to study the sun, moon, planets, asteroids, meteors and comets. It’s purpose is to “stimulate, coordinate, and generally promote the study of these bodies using methods and instruments that are available within the communities of both amateur and professional astronomers,” according to its website, www.alpo-astronomy.org.

The Charlie Elliott chapter meeting is free and open to the public. Benton’s visual aids will show the how’s and why’s of observing.

“There are plenty of programs that people can participate in in order to learn how to observe and understand,” Benton said. “I think one of the things people will walk away with is that a large telescope isn’t needed to observe and there’s a lot of programs available that can be enlightening. Not all the observing is done by NASA. We can all contribute in learning more about the planets.”

After Benton’s discussion, there will be a short presentation of what to expect to see in sky with binoculars and small telescopes during the month of April. The meeting will end with a chance to observe Saturn with participants’ own telescopes or those supplied by astronomy club members.

A Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS), Benton has authored many articles on planetary observing. His book, “Saturn and How to Observe It,” provides the latest information about the planet, and amateur and professional Saturn images, followed by advice on how to best observe Saturn using a variety of telescope apertures, color filters and magnifications.

Benton is coordinator of the Venus and Saturn observing sections for the ALPO, a worldwide organization of professional astronomers and serious students of solar system astronomy.

The meeting will be held in room B at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, located at 543 Elliott Trail in Mansfield. The chapter is open to everyone and meets monthly. For more information, go to www. ceastronomy.org/blog/home.