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SATURN Titan & STF 1837

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#1 David Gray

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:34 AM

A wonderfully pleasant night and very good seeing was in prospect from the start I felt – trusting to instinct – and was not disappointed! I was struck by the very dark rim of the NPC, particularly where it looked quite flat and rather feel I got at least an impression of the hexagon-effect; the steadying conditions allowing fair scrutiny here. Also was quite convinced that the following Ring A was a fair bit darker than in the preceding ansa with Encke (IAU & ‘classical’) readily apparent; but uncertain on the p. ansa.

With the seeing at it’s best Enceladus, then Mimas, jumped into view (no need hiding Saturn!) demonstrating the importance of steadiness as well as good transparency for getting fainter moons in the planet’s glare. Enceladus still well held when the apodizer was attached – Mimas very doubtfully!

The original pencil drawing is on ALPO-Japan:

Titan: Some recent colour impressions.

STF 1837: I try to take note of any fairly tight doubles near any planet I am observing as an extra focus-check. So I was interested to note that STF 1837, near Saturn, was threaded on the Double Star Forum. This caused me to give it more attention as to the colour of star B. It had already struck me that it looked whiter than the Yellow-white star A (F4III); so here represented are my impressions on recent nights. The best view gave a fair indication of pale bluish in B – suggesting that it might conceivably be an A-type star; but can’t find any info on this.

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#2 PeterDob


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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:23 AM

Sooooooooo incredibly beautiful, David. Really, I hardly know what to say. The details... the colours... everything is so spot-on! But actually I'm most impressed by your series of the double star. It just can't get any more realistic. I can almost "feel" the seeing and how it improved over the days. Respect!!!


#3 kenrenard


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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:56 AM

This is amazing. I saw a few photo's at my club meeting night and they were really good. However, this sketch blows the photo's out of the water.

My recent views have been very good of Saturn with my 8 inch. I am seeing some of the detail. The way you put it all together in a sketch is almost magical.

I was able to use the template you made from the BAA site.

Fabulous work. :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:


#4 Paul G. Abel

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 04:08 PM

Hi David, I can confirm your observation. The A-Ring was noticeably darker for me too.

#5 David Gray

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 01:34 AM

Thanks Ken and Peter: for the kind compliments. It is encouraging to find that at this far-north station I can still get some good views of south-bound Saturn - I'll be pushing 80 when it returns to the altitudes of this apparition!

Paul: the A ring darkness was striking, especially the f. ansa. I found the ring about one point lighter previous night!

Thanks again,

#6 Jef De Wit

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:14 AM

Great work on Saturn, Titan and the double!

#7 niteskystargazer



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Posted 09 May 2013 - 05:54 PM


Very good sketch of Saturn :).




#8 azure1961p


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Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:10 PM

Another great piece David. Its interesting to see the change in contrasts at the Southern Hemisphere outside the A ring as well as the finer fluctuations in belts and such. Really capitol work here. The varying seeing affecting the double is an appreciated touch as well as that of Titan. Its so true that when the image steadies these very small orbs show their color best. Uranus and Neptune as well as Io for example and Callisto benefit in this way too. Difference with my 8" view is that its an very very pale warm grey tone in poor seeing with spikes of color in the steadier moments. My mirrors are all recoated (refractor diagonals included) and so when they arrive from Florida I look forward to setting up for this planet.

Again great work Dave!


#9 David Gray

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 11:24 AM

Thanks all for your kind remarks/compliments.

I had more good conditions Friday evening; and decided to tackle STF 1837 first and again got a pale bluish in the secondary. I was able to get on it with some ‘guesstimated’ off-setting from Saturn when the sky was still quite light and was pleased to see how sharp it showed. As it is pretty low from here I had to make sure that atmospheric dispersion (‘AD’) was not affecting the hue. That is check out that my using the prism (Amici/Binovu) dispersion was indeed cancelling the ‘AD’ and the B companion was not immersed in the blue component of this. But checking on several nearby brighter stars confirmed that the prisms were cancelling ‘AD’ when placing them in the central-south quarter of the field. For instance alpha Lib A was seen as a delicate pale blue and B quite yellow. As STF 1837B is roughly at p.a. 270 deg. it is sort of on the ‘junction of the red-blue ‘AD’. Just to point out here that my STF 1837 compilation on the Saturn attachment is actually north-up/east-left as opposed to the planet’s traditional south up! Been using erect-image Amicis for years but I still forget at times to invert when reporting some things!

All this messing with STF 1837 cost me a another fine-view drawing of Saturn as cloud came up just as I had completed my routine intensity estimates…….! But I plan to further check the double and perhaps another compilation from the saved colour/etc impressions – also showing the ‘AD’ effects too.


#10 ericj


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Posted 15 May 2013 - 10:52 AM

Another wonderful sketch and report David, you recorded a remarkable amount of detail.

I agree with your comment about trusting your instincts. There have been times when I felt I should get out and observe or continue to observe when the seeing doesn't look to good and then the conditions get better.


Eric Jamison

#11 David Gray

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 12:11 PM

Many thanks Eric.

I will be responding to your last e-mail soon - lots going on here the now!

In the meantime a good clear night in prospect: and fresh & ready for it!

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