Best Baltimorean’s Guide to the Galaxy
Open House at the Maryland Space Grant Observatory
Published: September 21, 2011
Friday nights and first Tuesday of each month, 3799 San Martin Drive, (410) 516-6525, md.spacegrant.org
From John Hopkins’ Homewood Campus, make a left on University Parkway and another down the tiny, winding San Martin Drive. Park in the metered spots outside the ROTC building (it’s free after dark), walk down the sidewalk to the Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy, and take the stairs to the fourth floor. There. You’ve found Saturn. And through the lens of the telescope at the Maryland Space Grant Observatory, you can see it—and its moons—clear as a picture in a textbook, only it’s not in a textbook—it’s right there, rings and all, in front of your wide-open eye. The kind graduate student who runs the free Friday-night open houses will let you gaze long and dreamy-like at the pretty planet until everyone in the room’s had their fill, punching a few numbers into a laptop to re-aim the massive scope at faraway star Arcturus or the Crab Nebula. And since the sky changes over the course of a year, the show does too: In fall and early spring, you can see Jupiter and its largest moons.