Six (Oh Well) Saturnian Moons Via 8" Reflector
Posted 17 June 2013 - 02:16 AM
Even so, I was able to get, again, a just a tad less than fair view of Saturn: again, the Cassini division and the planetary shadow on the rings, the north equatorial band (is that what it's called?) was visible, with a smooth progressively darkening (toward the pole) north polar region, and the same beautiful golden color.
But tonight, it was the moons, and their arrangement that occupied most of my time and effort tonight. I had first checked my Sky Safari app and it indicated that Enceladus should be far enough from the rings that it may be more easily seen, along with Iapetus lingering within what may be considered a normal field of view.
And when I finally got my scope out, and without any thermal equilibration of the OTA and its 8" mirror, I could immediately see Titan (of course), with Iapetus farther away from it, but Dione, Tethys, and Rhea forming a slanted line barrier between Saturn and Titan. It was breathtakingly beautiful, like some kind of jeweled tiara on top of the head, which is the ringed planet itself.
But what really got me was that I could from time to time see, by an averted gaze, Enceladus, though mainly at 250x, and yes, Saturn was sort of stable enough so that its features could be seen at this power. I was also able to glimpse Enceladus once or twice only at 200x. And now, something which some may find very disputable, but I think I saw it, again by averted seeing, four times, actually, and I'm talking about Phoebe! It was a faint ghost of a dot that popped in and out, at about the right position where Phoebe should be by the planetary disk. It wouldn't have been Hyperion, which would have been farther out from Saturn. In fact, it appeared at the same times that Enceladus did, indicating that the seeing and transparency settled and cleared enough at those instants for these faint moons to be viewable; Enceladus appearing at about 11 o'clock and Phoebe at about 5 o'clock around Saturn. I don't know why I couldn't then see Hyperion, though truth to tell, I wasn't really looking for it. I was able to catch these two fainter moons three times at 250x and once at 200x. At lower powers, down to 63x, only the four usual moons and Iapetus were visible.
I have seen Enceladus before, but never with Iapetus present in the field of view, and this is the first time I've glimpsed Phoebe! And it's the first time I've seen seven moons of Saturn in one field of view!
I will say that I am fairly surprised, again given what the naked eye perceptions of the sky conditions were, but I believe this was greatly aided by motorized equatorial tracking. And, I don't care what any nay-sayers will neigh about; I think I've been observing long enough, despite still only having the knowledge of a rank newb, that I can tell when I really saw something via averted vision. The object, even if requiring averted viewing, will pop in, and make an almost physical impression, a sort of soft pricking on the eye as its image appears, as was my experience in the past with Enceladus and Triton and the E and F stars of the Trapezium. Transient eye noise doesn't have that kind of a feel. Viva short f/l TMB Planetaries! And, good night!
Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:21 AM
Magnitude 17 is an incredible capture - no nays - but the moment I saw the field star deep on Darirns midst a red flag came up. What do you think?
Posted 17 June 2013 - 07:31 AM
Turns out, repeating the observation was more difficult. I cheated so knowing the position of Enceladus before hand, and boy it took a couple of nights of calm skies, moderate power (about 160x with a 12mm HO ortho) to actually glimpse Enceladus again with enough certainty to make the call.
I think transparency, very calm skies, and throughput are important, as well as Enceladus being as far from Saturn's glare as possible. Well, for a 6" to do it, anyway. Congratulations on your observation, that's a touch one.
Phoebe? I dunno, maybe Pete has a point. How far is Phoebe from Saturn? It's gotta be orders of magnitude more difficult than Enceladus and Mimas. I've not heard of anyone observing it, so I don't know anything about it, really. No doubt something was there, your description of the observation sounds accurate to me.
Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:02 AM
Posted 17 June 2013 - 10:39 AM
Where was this star relative to Saturn last night?
Posted 17 June 2013 - 12:56 PM
Posted 17 June 2013 - 01:13 PM
I stand corrected. I checked it's magnitude: it's 17. There is no way to see that through a 8" mirror on a night of variable seeing and transparency.
Now, what DID I see? The I was unable to locate in Voyager (III) any star in that specific vicinity that could make me think it was a moon. I can't locate either the star gfeulner mentioned in my software, so I wouldn't know where around Saturn it would emerge from occultation. If it is 11th magnitude as he says, it would be visible to me on clear nights and by averted viewing on less clear nights.
Oh, well, the ol' foot in mouth trick, I guess, and I missed by THAT much, measured on astronomical levels. Let me edit the title of this post...
... oops, I see I cannot. If some mod might be inclined to save me from my hubris and change it for me, that'd be nice.
Posted 17 June 2013 - 02:18 PM
Posted 17 June 2013 - 02:28 PM
Posted 17 June 2013 - 02:33 PM
Boy, how I felt after I came inside though!
Posted 17 June 2013 - 04:08 PM
Posted 17 June 2013 - 05:22 PM
Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:56 PM
The first pic is the wide angle view. West is to the right, north is up (kinda)...
Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:57 PM
Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:58 PM
Posted 17 June 2013 - 10:05 PM
I read your posts and I appreciate your thoughts here because I know you are a careful observer . I figured the added point of light here may have misdirected identification. Hey it happens!!!
If youd've seen Phoebe - wow - and in Saturns glare glow - yikes!!!!
Posted 17 June 2013 - 10:31 PM
Posted 17 June 2013 - 10:58 PM
It is a beautiful app outdone in this respect only by the sheer vastness of its information on myriad objects . It contains a staggering amount of great in depth information on even the most obscure things.
A lot of folks seem to love it.
Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:39 AM
Eye noise... most likely! Suspiciously, it appeared generally when Enceladus appeared, and disappeared with it.
Posted 23 June 2013 - 12:26 AM
Posted 23 June 2013 - 02:56 PM