Friday, January 27, 2006


Saturn reaches opposition today. Last night was a beautifully clear and warmish Ryerson Thursday observing night. The seeing was perfect too, leaving us agog with fantastic views of Saturn and its moons. It's a little tough identifying the satellites versus the field stars since Saturn is gliding on the edge of the Beehive open cluster, but we saw Titan, Dione, Rhea, and Tethys. My ID of Titan was from its brightness (i.e., not the brightest field star, but around magnitude 8), and the last three by their similarity and close positions to Saturn.

Need to identify Saturn's moons? Use Sky and Telescope's useful javascript tool: Saturn's Moons Javascript applet. They also have an observing guide to Saturn.

Alan Friedman has a nice image taken a few days ago that shows essentially what we saw last night, although we didn't see the Encke Gap.

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