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Linda

First time Saturn

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Yesterday evening, I checked in Stellarium when Saturn would be visible in the south-east. That was at approx 4:45. So this morning I got up at 4 o'clock. The scope has already spent the night outside. I blocked out the neighbouring lights and started by observing Mars. It was a small orange disk and the double star Acrab (beta Scorpii) split easily with 62x magnification. Saturn was still behind a tree.

When it finally came out of the trees, it was 5 o'clock. Saturn looked like a normal star with the naked eye, but Stellarium marked it as Saturn. Very different from the other 3 planets that I'm used to that are so much brighter. In the telescope it was unmistakable, a white disk with handle bars. But it was tiny, compared to Mars. The rings were equally bright as the planet. I couldn't magnify more than 100x, because it was so low in the atmosphere. But very it was nice to see Saturn convincingly for the first time. No moons were visible.

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I don't think you saw Saturn. Mars is currently 10.1" apparent diameter, and Saturn is 17.0" (39" if you include the rings). Also it definitely looks like the other planets to the naked eye. Meh, I could be wrong.

Edited by BeanerSA

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1 hour ago, BeanerSA said:

I don't think you saw Saturn. Mars is currently 10.1" apparent diameter, and Saturn is 17.0" (39" if you include the rings). Also it definitely looks like the other planets to the naked eye. Meh, I could be wrong.

Then maybe I remember the size wrong. It appeared small to me. But it was definitively Saturn, as I saw the ring. It also was exactly where Stellarium said it would be.

Mars looked with the naked as a bright reddish star. Saturn, very low above the horizon, looked like a dim star. Jupiter in the west was extremely bright as always. Maybe it was the low position that made the difference. Or something in the atmosphere that made Saturn look dim.  

As you live on the other side of the world than I do, we might see it from a different angle. My telescope was standing close to horizontal when I watched it.

Edited by Linda
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First view of Saturn is fantastic.  As Beaner says, it should be noticeably bigger than Mars at the same mag, but anyway, the shape is unmistakeable!

Doug.

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Nice Catch Linda.

Regarding Saturn, we have to make the best out of it at Our Northern latitude. It will be this low for the Next 5-6 years.

 

Rune

Edited by Pondus
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Very nice isn't it Linda?!  Even low down its a real nice sight because of the unmistakable shape. But as Pondus says it's going to be low from our northern latitudes for many years.  Still worth a look for sure and its moon Titan is an easy thing to spot. Just hard to distinguish it from background stars. 

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I have heard that Saturn is best in May this year. Even though the days are rapidly growing longer, and the nights shorter, I will give it another go at that time.

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I got a butcher's hook at Saturn (and Mars) at around 05:30 this morning. The Moon was quite clear inbetween the clouds and I was observing it a couple of hours earlier. Saturn and Mars were hazy though and there was intermittent cloud. Saturn was at azimuth 354.4°S at an altitude of 16.4°, approx 10 AU from Sol, in Ophiucus, Transit 05:50. I could see the rings but due to conditions didn't use much magnification (67x - 111x). Mars is looking much bigger than I last saw it.

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