Saturn Nears Opposition from the Sun
Posted 12 April 2013 - 09:20 AM
Photos and descriptions of Saturn and its rings would be welcome additions to this thread.
Posted 27 April 2013 - 10:12 AM
Posted 28 April 2013 - 05:37 AM
And I've never seen such great contrast in the bands of Saturn, I counted 6 above the rings, all different shades of a striking orange, Brown, and gray at the pole. The rings have never looked so good to me. For the first time I could see obvious differences of shading within both the A and B ring, both had a lighter band and darker portion within them, most obvious in each ring at the widest point around the planet. So the effect was like seeing 4 different rings 2 on each side of Cassini. All were subtley different salmonish colors compared to the planet itself which was definitely more of a vivid orangey tan in comparison.
And Encke's division was flicking in and out of view. It was just like seeing a second smaller, thinner Cassini division out on the edge of the A ring. Also within the dark black space between the inside of the rings and planet, I could detect a difference between the very edge if the planet which was pitch black and the blackness inside of the rings, which was dark gray and follwed a curve inside the B. Simply beautiful.
Yeah so I'm pretty excited. The awesome seeing lasted for about 45 minutes, then suddenly it got fuzzy. I went back in for 20 minutes and came back out and it was good again. The bands on the planet really stood out. The colors seemed more vibrant than usual, and seeing an obvious difference of intensity within different sections of the A and B ring was neat. The view was like some of the wonderful sketches I'vs seen. I'm tired but already looking forward to tomorrow. The 5/5 seeing is supposed to continue.
Posted 28 April 2013 - 06:31 PM
Posted 30 April 2013 - 12:15 AM
Edit: After midnight, it was calmed down more to where there was no turbulent limb. Brightness variation apparent on each side of Cassini division, which was easily held with steady vision. A little more shading on planet's disc was showing too. May need a barlow, or a 5mm eyepiece of some sort!
Posted 30 April 2013 - 05:20 AM
On 4/28/13, the night of the opposition of Saturn, I decided to image Saturn to see if I could capture the “opposition effect”. This is when, during opposition, Saturn’s rings are directly facing Earth and so are noticeably brighter than normal. I have observed this brightening a number of times and it can be quite impressive. I took my image on the 28th and compared it to an earlier image of Saturn taken on the 9th. I admit the image from the 28th is not very sharp either because of poor seeing or clouds. The “mission” was shortened because of increasing cloud cover. Despite the second image being rather poor you can definitely see a difference in the brightness of the rings, especially at their widest points. I’d like to think it would be more noticeable with a sharper image.
Posted 30 April 2013 - 08:25 AM
After days of poor weather, yesterday (4/29) I got back about midnight from a whirlwind one-day business trip, and immediately set my 102GT OTA/ Vixen Porta on my deck.
I observed Saturn for about 50 minutes, until about 1:30AM. I mostly used my 11mm, 8.8mm and 6.7mm ES82 EPs. The most pleasing views were generally with the 8.8ES82 at 114x, but the 6.7ES82 (149x) was also good, albeit a tad soft.
As my scope reached ambient temp and my eye got fully adapted, Cassini division became crisp and dark. The banding on the planetary disc was the best I've seen to date. With patience, I got occasional hints of B/C ring color differential, which I have not seen with my 4" before.
Viewing from a 2FL deck is not ideal, but it's surprising how still I can be when I'm intently observing.
Using the 6.7mm did remind me, however, that I still have not replaced the Synta glue in my 102GT's focuser!
Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:14 AM
Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:57 PM
Posted 30 April 2013 - 06:23 PM
But I think I'll schedule an Opposition of Saturn party for all my friends on the 27th, and take my chances. I need to brush up on my Saturn presentation (but after the first couple of batches of margaritas, my audience will be primed and ready anyway.)
Been reading so much Titan literature lately that I can't wait to get that bad boy in my sights again.
Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:32 PM
Posted 30 April 2013 - 11:07 PM
Posted 01 May 2013 - 05:45 AM
Moons to be sure. It does pass faint stars now and again and rarely runs over them in a way we can see, but for the most part on any given night its moons.
Posted 01 May 2013 - 05:50 AM
Posted 01 May 2013 - 01:24 PM
Rick in good seeing you ought to resolve Titan as a clean disc. I'd bet in great seeing and something like 700x it'd look phenomenal!!!
Yeah - that's what I want! I had those conditions once, several years ago, but I spent the time staring at Saturn and didn't even think about Titan. *sigh*
Posted 01 May 2013 - 01:27 PM
But I think I'll schedule an Opposition of Saturn party for all my friends on the 27th, and take my chances.
My wife cleverly pointed out that it's already past the 27th. Doh!
That's what happens when you retire and lose track of the date.
Posted 01 May 2013 - 01:53 PM
Banding and Cassini were distinct at X77 and got better up to X153.
This was despite Saturn still being low in the sky (I'm at 52 North!) and some "shimmer" from having to look over my neighbour's roof.
Had to pack up at 11.25pm as Saturn disappeared behind a tree.
Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:27 PM