Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Saturn in a 12.5, wed morning 3-27

  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 george golitzin

george golitzin

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1863
  • Joined: 24 Feb 2006

Posted 31 March 2013 - 07:12 PM

I recently completed a 12.5 inch scope that rides nicely on an old, refurbished Tom O platform. On the night of 3/26 (that is, early on 3/27), it rewarded me with a captivating view of Saturn at 530X, which I have attempted to represent here in a "sketch." Quotation marks, because it was a bit of a cheat: I started with an astrophoto, then photoshopped the heck out of it until I had a featureless white ball and featureless rings, with indications of their separation: this I used as a template on which to sketch...

As for the observation, I began with sucker holes in a light cloud layer but fairly steady seeing; around 2 am, however, almost at transit, I had clear sky and a good view--not rock solid, but with enough momentary calm to see a fair amount of detail. Banding was very nice, with an obvious wide light zone at the equator, a broad darker band through the tropical and temperate regions, and a very narrow light zone just north of this. The north polar region was exceptionally dark, and at some point I thought I spied a light zone running around it, but I have not drawn this--it was too fleeting. The Crepe ring was beautiful across the planet's face and into the ansae (I have not rendered its shape very well here); the Encke minima were visible in the A ring, and the usual darkening of the B ring near the ansae as well. Cassini shimmered in the seeing, but was clearly visible all the way around--at one point, I thought it looked lighter where it crossed the planet, but I don't know if current illumination makes that possible, and it was probably a bit of imagination. The shadow of the planet on the rings was noted--it always heightens the sense of 3-dimensionality--I confess I photoshopped this part of my drawing after scanning it, because I couldn't make it dark enough; likewise I photoshopped the bit of space interior to the crepe ring to get it dark enough. Of the moons I only noted Titan, Rhea, Dione and Tethys.

I was extremely happy to have tracking--something I've done without since selling my old 6-inch Intes mak 10 years ago--as seeing supported quite high power for occasional moments. I was also surprised by how nice the view was, given the planet's current location in Libra, and thus for me a maximum altitude of 39 degrees.

Observation was at 2 am PDT (9:00 UT) on 27.3.13. The scope is based on an f/5.9 mirror ground by Ed Beck and reputed to be refigured by Carl Zambuto; it sports a nice 2.1 inch secondary from Protostar. Eyepiece was a Pentax 3.5mm XW for 530X.

Attached Files



#2 buddyjesus

buddyjesus

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2482
  • Joined: 07 Jul 2010
  • Loc: Davison, Michigan

Posted 31 March 2013 - 07:57 PM

nice sketch. i have noticed a blunting at the pole and your drawing reveals that the pole is darkened. i see plenty of ring detail not visible in my scope too. Makes me eager to save up the money to buy a z12 someday.

#3 Scanning4Comets

Scanning4Comets

    Markus

  • *****
  • Posts: 17287
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2004
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 01 April 2013 - 04:47 AM

That's pretty much same view I had of Saturn last Saturday morning at about 5am, with my view a bit more tilted as it had moved since 2 am. I let my scope cool for 2 hours before I went in my backyard to view it. I used my 7mm Pentax XW + 2" GSO barlow element + 2" blue fireball extension tube, which gives me roughly 300x.

Nice sketch!

Cheers,

#4 Rich (RLTYS)

Rich (RLTYS)

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 6403
  • Joined: 18 Dec 2004
  • Loc: New York (Long Island)

Posted 01 April 2013 - 05:05 AM

A most impressive sketch. Thanks for the view.

Rich (RLTYS)

#5 nirvanix

nirvanix

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1814
  • Joined: 07 Jun 2007
  • Loc: Saskatoon, SK

Posted 01 April 2013 - 10:07 AM

That's a great sketch and the features you were able to notice at 500x magnification indicate a very good mirror regardless of the pedigree.

#6 george golitzin

george golitzin

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1863
  • Joined: 24 Feb 2006

Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:20 PM

Thanks everyone! I haven't said goodbye to Jupiter yet, but it was nice to say hello to Saturn, and I really enjoyed the opportunity for a crisp view, since these have been few and far between lately. I was quite surprised at how dark the polar region was.

-geo

#7 Dean Norris

Dean Norris

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1667
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2008
  • Loc: Santa Cruz, Ca

Posted 08 April 2013 - 03:21 PM

George,

Excellent sketch of Saturn. Seeing that supported 530x must have been special. Catching Encke's minima is cool. I'll be looking for that the next time I get great seeing. I wonder if at that power the hex feature at the pole would be visible. I never heard of anyone actually seeing this but maybe it's possible.

Thanks for posting. Dean

#8 george golitzin

george golitzin

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1863
  • Joined: 24 Feb 2006

Posted 09 April 2013 - 12:39 AM

Thanks Dean. I was really struck by how dark the polar region was, but I didn't get close to resolving the hexagon feature. That's shown up nicely in some recent photos though--it is the weirdest thing.

I'm hoping to get a couple more good nights this apparition--Saturn is so low for us northerners, but once in a while, one might hope for a clear view.

-geo


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics