SYLMAR : Sidewalk Astronomy Program Scheduled

Forget Cruise as the Vampire Lestat. Forget DeNiro as Dr. Frankenstein's monster. For some real full-moon action, check out the Sylmar branch of the Los Angeles Public Library on Nov. 16.

There, the public can peer at the solar system through telescopes, check out craters on the full moon, and take a gander at Saturn and possibly Jupiter.

At a special "Sidewalk Astronomy" program to be held at the library from 6 to 8 p.m., members of an amateur astronomers group from Santa Clarita will set up their scopes for public viewing, offering insight into some murky universal matter, including nebulas, dust lanes and galaxies.

"Under really good conditions, you might be able to see the Andromeda galaxy," said LaVerne Booth, one of the astronomers who will be there with her eight-inch telescope.

"There will be a full moon, and a lot of city light, too, so we'll probably see a lot of the moon and Saturn," Booth said.

If it's cloudy or raining, the astronomers plan to set up a slide show inside and conduct a question-and-answer program.

The Sidewalk Astronomy program was started a few years ago by Dana Eklund, a librarian at the Benjamin Franklin Branch Library. An amateur astronomer, Eklund invited some of his friends to set up their telescopes at a public library and answer questions posed by curious stargazers.

"It's been really successful," Eklund said. "We've done most of the programs in the Los Angeles area--some have drawn as many as 200 people--and the Sylmar program is one of the first we've scheduled in the Valley."

For information about the program, call Eklund at (213) 263-6901.

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