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MimasDeathStar

Is Saturn supposed to dance?

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Hi all

Sorry I have a question that probably has an obvious answer so just wanted some reassurance! 

I found Saturn in my new telescope last night and it really blew me away, it was almost like someone dropped a tiny Saturn model at the end of the scope I just couldn't believe it. 

My eyepieces take me up to about 110x. I couldn't see the cassini division (is that right, the gap in the rings?) but what I did see gave me a bit of a fright! It looked like the rings were wobbling. In fact it looked uncannily like Saturn was doing some sort of hula dance. 

I'm ashamed to admit that for a second I thought it was real and the rings were pulling themselves apart 🤭 but I guess this is the impact of atmospheric tubulence? 

You know, it was actually pretty cool looking. 

Many thanks. 

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It seemed I just couldn't get it in focus last night because of the wind. 

But after 3 months since I've photographed it or Jupiter, it was great just seeing it again. 

Hang in there, on night just out of the blue, you'll look at it and things will be right. 

That's when you go WOW!

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From the UK Saturn is currently pretty low in the sky. Thats a lot of atmosphere to view through hence the lack of a stready view and also it makes seeing more challenging features such as the Cassini Division more difficult as well.

 

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A slow "dance" can often be from the fact that your line of sight to Saturn from the telescope goes over something like a parked car or driveway; at this time of year with bright sunny days and colder nights, the air is a lot cooler than the ground and thermals rise causing "wave" effects. It's mainly a problem for objects near the horizon - unfortunately Saturn and Jupiter this year have been near the horizon! If you can move the scope to something like grass it may be better.

Chris

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