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The first time I have ever seen Saturn through a scope


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Hello everyone.

Last night I got to see saturn 'live' for the first time ever. I'm new to stargazing - I haven't even managed to get the GOTO working properly yet - but stellarium told me that she'd be visable at my location from about half 11. So looking through the window I spotted her and out I went into the freezing cold night.

Went up through the magnifications of my eyepiece and was a bit dissappointed to get to the highest magnification and still couldn't make out any rings. I know they're meant to be side on at the moment but I hoped I'd be able to make out something. Was all a bit deflating.

That was until my g'friend pointed out that we were probably looking at the wrong thing. I figure I must have been looking at p2Leo? I find it sometimes quite hard to figure out the similarities btw stellarium and the real sky. I've only just discovered the light polution slider which might make things a bit easier but there are way more things in stellarium than were actually visable in my sky last night.

Anyway. Scrolled the scope over to saturn and wow... That's really cool.

Like I said I know it's meant to be side on, but I saw the rings perfectly and possibly even a moon (Titan?). I don't know if maybe it was a bit out of focus and that helped beef up the rings or something but it was a really impressive site.

Looking forward to jupiter now, though it looks like that won't be for a few months yet?

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Well done on your first sighting of the [ringless] planet :hello2: The rings do appear like a line through the planet. I don't think they have fully closed up yet. A few percent to go.

Just imagine what the view will be like in a couple of years time when the rings open up again.

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I remember my first sight of Saturn, it was through an LX90.

I had just bought the scope and had to drive a few miles to get a dark sky.

It was plainly visible so i set the scope up and tracked to it.

CRIKEY!!! i saw the rings, (open at the time) 2 moons and i think 2 cloud bands although these may have been summoned up by my imagination...they were really faint.

It is a sight that has stook with me for years, i dont think future observations of Saturn, even with greater detail apparent match the first WOW.

You will love the view in a couple of years.

Good luck with your observing.

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My 1st view of Saturn was though a 60mm refractor about 28 years ago ! - I simply could not believe what I was seeing - so beautiful even through that small scope.

I showed my neighbours the planet with a 6 inch scope a few years back and they thought I had stuck a picture of Saturn on the front of the scope !.

It's a wonderful sight, even with the rings almost edge on. Titan is quite easy to spot even with small scopes. With my 4 inch refractor I can make out 4 moons on a good night.

John

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My first view of the ringed one was through one of those cheap, red lensed, pair of binoculars that you pick up in Tenerife for pennies. It looked like a tiny rugby ball through those but that was enough to give me the kick start I needed to get a scope.

The planet looked amazing first time through the 130p. I can't wait to view it throught the 12 inch.

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:thumbright: Congrats on your first view of Saturn! I think the rings will continue closing until September, and then they'll begin to blossom... it'll take a few years for them to open fully again.

My first Saturn view was 4:30 in the morning on the 4th of July, 1998. It was stunning in the ETX 90RA... it just hung there so perfect, like a tiny glowing jewel on black velvet. Then I ruined the moment by blurting out the dumbest thing: "Holy bleep, it looks just like the pictures!"

(gee, d'ya think? :hello2: )

But it made such an impact on me that I can still see it when I close my eyes..

Brings a peaceful Mona Lisa smile to my lips every time, too.

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Saturns the object that really hooks people into this hobby, and why not?

The rings will slightly open again over the next couple of months as the Earths position changes. By September the rings will have closed up again to be completely edge-on, but it will be too close to the Sun to be seen at this time. Just think, over the next few years your view is only going to get better as those rings open out, but it will be starting to get lower in our skies as the planet gradually slides further south along the ecliptic.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yep.. Saturn is 'Da Bomb' of the skies for me too lol. Same for me Talitha, never forget that first viewing of it and remembering that moment brings a humble smile to my face.

Eagleseye, Never thought of that (moving South along the ecliptic). I remember in 2006 when it was close to the Beehive reaching nearly 60deg altitude at opposition :) . I guess we've been spoilt the last few years.

Matt

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We had a three hour long window in the clouds last night and I managed to catch Saturn low on the horizon just a few minutes before it clouded over. Unfortunately there was a lot of atmospheric disturbance, but it was interesting to see the rings almost edge on and looking like a straight line. Ths was quite different to a year ago when they were more open to us and you could see the Cassini division. I read recently that when the rings close up fully, you can see other moons like specs of light. As it was I could see Titan and I thought I could just make out Rhea. I couldn't see any other moons though although according to Stellarium they would have overlapped the ring plane.

Anyone know how many moons can be seen with an amateur back yard scope?

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  • 1 month later...

When I first got my first decent scope, a 4.5" Meade, I went out and looked at Saturn first, as both Jupiter and Saturn were in the sky. It was so cool I made all my kids come out and look at it in the freezing night air. It is always a wonderful sight! Congratulations.

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congrats on finding saturn. its a wonderful sight that i can't resist every morning when i come home from work ( though it'll soon have to be evenings before i go to work) even if i don't look at anything else. despite looking at it so often i still get the wrong object when its a cloudy or misty and i loose my bearings :(

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  • 11 years later...

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