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Saturn, 40 years (or so) later

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#1 Gandalf223

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 07:24 PM

Last night was the first time I have viewed Saturn in 40 years (give a take a year; the last time was in the late 1960's.) With an unfamiliarity built up over decades, not to mention somewhat better optics, it was a jaw-dropping experience.

I saw three of Saturn's moons (Titan, Rhea and Tethys,) three cloud bands (maybe; what I saw as a band at the equator might have been clouds, the rings or both) and for a short period of perfect seeing I actually saw dark space through the gap between planet and rings, even with the rings tilted only 2°.

A lot of the features came and went, trading off as the seeing changed. Titan was obvious of course. Tethys, once spotted, was also constant, but Rhea waited a while to be noticed. Banding in Saturn's clouds were nigh invisible until my fingers were starting to stiffen. I suppose that was while my eyes got whatever dark adaptation is possible in the backyard. The gap through the ring was the most fleeting, lasting only a couple of minutes (if that) before reverting to a subtle variation in brightness in the line that the ring mostly assumed.

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I don't know how you guys, in places where it really does get cold, manage to do any of this stuff in winter. An hour outside at our balmy 36F and I was ready to cry uncle.

#2 frank5817

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Posted 27 February 2009 - 08:02 PM

Alan,

Great sketch after 40 years. Saturn is always impressive no matter how much time has passed. This is a great time to follow those moons with that slight ring tilt. I am happy that it will still be in the night sky as the weather begins to warm soon. :waytogo:

Frank :)

#3 rodelaet

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Posted 04 March 2009 - 02:48 PM

Alan,

A fine sketch! :waytogo:

I like how you presented the little moons in relation to Saturn. Very nice work.

Keep up the good work, and... dress warmer. :coldday:

#4 CarlosEH

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 05:22 AM

Alan,

A very nice observation of Saturn. The ringed planet looks great now as forty years ago. The best of luck in your future observations.

Carlos

#5 markseibold

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 07:23 PM

Alan

A very realistic rendering as to the same level of seeing that I witnessed lately on cold windy nights from east Portland.

I am equally impressed that a local astronomer to my area is even here in CN!

Good to see something from a fellow Oregonian!

Keep up the good work,

Mark






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