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Saturn and satellites Dec. 30


darditti
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On this misty morning I looked at Saturn and saw a beautiful string of satellites, with one very close to the ring on the LHS (preceding).

The large image of Saturn was taken with a 3x Barlow at 17fps. The small image with the planet grossly overexposed was taken without a Barlow, at 8fps, to show all the satellites. The satellites are not at their true scales with respect to Saturn, they are not resolved, the size of the dots just indicates their brightness.

David

sat2008-12-30-DLA.jpg

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That is a great image shows even little Mimas very close to disc that open rings would make less possible.

Would it be possible to see shadow transits on saturn now like jupiter?

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Amazing. Don't think I've ever seen six moons in one image of any planet, before. Now, if only Iapetus had been in the frame...

You get so much 3-D effect out of the nearly edge-on rings, it's hard to remember that for many observers the rings must be difficult to see at all in the Saturn equinox. When do the rings actually 'flip' over from South presentation to North presentation (or vice versa, whichever it is) as seen from Earth? Has it happened yet? And if not, can you catch that precise moment, weather permitting?

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When do the rings actually 'flip' over from South presentation to North presentation (or vice versa, whichever it is) as seen from Earth? Has it happened yet? And if not, can you catch that precise moment, weather permitting?

It's in October, but Saturn won't be observable then, it will be too close to the Sun. The inclination reached a temporary minimum of about 1 degree in late December, and is now increasing again slightly, before closing down again in summer when Saturn will be moving into the dusk. We probably won't see the rings quite so narrow as they were in this image again for 16 years. There is also a brief period when Earth and Sun are on different sides of the ring plane, so we see the dark side. I am not sure when this will happen, I think it may be just at the end of 2009 when Saturn comes back in the morning. This is a very rare sight. There was an article on E E Barnard's visual observations of this in the 19th C in the JBAA recently. It has not occurred in the era of CCD imaging before.

David

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There is also a brief period when Earth and Sun are on different sides of the ring plane, so we see the dark side. I am not sure when this will happen, I think it may be just at the end of 2009 when Saturn comes back in the morning. This is a very rare sight. There was an article on E E Barnard's visual observations of this in the 19th C in the JBAA recently. It has not occurred in the era of CCD imaging before.

David

In which case you'd better put it in your diary. We're relying on you David!
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