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Observing The Cassini Division of Saturn.


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Excellent seeing last night from N London, Cassini Div seen in my 130p Heritage  (8mm EP + 2.5x barlow). Jupiter even better, at least 5 belts discerned.

In my  8" LX10 and 300p dob I usually see Cassini Div every time in the apparitions when rings are favourably inclined.

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I used to test how low a magnification I could use to see the Cassini Division all the way around.
An "expert" on an astro forum denied me the right to see such detail at low powers.
From memory, 46x was my best effort but it felt like having my eyeballs sucked out.
Second-hand  Celestron CR150HD f/8 x 26mm Meade 4000 EP.

I had one night where Saturn was high overhead and there was snow on the ground.
An inversion layer produced stunning seeing conditions.
120x clearly showed the bluish Crepe Ring, Encke, graduated Polar shading, countless belts.
10mm No-name Plossl EP. 120x was my maximum power back then.
Saturn looked pixilated it was so incredibly sharp. Satellite orbiter sharp.
That was years ago. Only once and never again.

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On 24/08/2021 at 15:27, Rusted said:

I used to test how low a magnification I could use to see the Cassini Division all the way around.
An "expert" on an astro forum denied me the right to see such detail at low powers.
From memory, 46x was my best effort but it felt like having my eyeballs sucked out.
Second-hand  Celestron CR150HD f/8 x 26mm Meade 4000 EP.

I had one night where Saturn was high overhead and there was snow on the ground.
An inversion layer produced stunning seeing conditions.
120x clearly showed the bluish Crepe Ring, Encke, graduated Polar shading, countless belts.
10mm No-name Plossl EP. 120x was my maximum power back then.
Saturn looked pixilated it was so incredibly sharp. Satellite orbiter sharp.
That was years ago. Only once and never again.

Your Celestron CR150HD must be quite a grand telescope. I would love to look at the planets through it.

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1 hour ago, Grumpy Martian said:

Your Celestron CR150HD must be quite a grand telescope. I would love to look at the planets through it.

No you wouldn't. :wink2:

The Celestron 150/8 would almost never allow more than 120x on the planets even with the permanent Baader "Fringe Killer" aboard.

After that amazing night on Saturn I started buying [secondhand] Meade 4000 eyepieces.
A complete waste of money until I finally bought an iStar objective and built a better telescope.
After years of staring at a hopelessly fuzzy Jupiter the iStar 180/12 R35 allowed me to instantly double the powers I was using.

The Celestron became my PST H-a mod. Until I replaced it with a much better iStar 150/10 H-alpha objective.

Despite being surrounded by fields my seeing conditions must have been normally very poor over two decades.
Only by raising my viewing platform did I finally start getting fairly decent seeing far more often.
That didn't stop the iStar refractors performing far better from the ground.
Even they were completely eclipsed by my 10" f/8 Newtonian.  :biggrin:

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I've not given Saturn much attention for a number of years due to its low angle, but I've found a one-off sketch I made just to give my DZ a run on the planet. The sketch is just a sketch and not a detailed drawing, as there was little point, but Cassini's division was a doddle despite the mediocre conditions.

 

 

2021-08-27 16.37.19.jpg

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I don't recall it being brought up earlier in this thread, but the rings have been "closing" for several years now, making it harder and harder to make out ring details:

spacer.png

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10 hours ago, Rusted said:

No you wouldn't. :wink2:

The Celestron 150/8 would almost never allow more than 120x on the planets even with the permanent Baader "Fringe Killer" aboard.

After that amazing night on Saturn I started buying [secondhand] Meade 4000 eyepieces.
A complete waste of money until I finally bought an iStar objective and built a better telescope.
After years of staring at a hopelessly fuzzy Jupiter the iStar 180/12 R35 allowed me to instantly double the powers I was using.

The Celestron became my PST H-a mod. Until I replaced it with a much better iStar 150/10 H-alpha objective.

Despite being surrounded by fields my seeing conditions must have been normally very poor over two decades.
Only by raising my viewing platform did I finally start getting fairly decent seeing far more often.
That didn't stop the iStar refractors performing far better from the ground.
Even they were completely eclipsed by my 10" f/8 Newtonian.  :biggrin:

What an account of a great story. Thanks

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3 hours ago, Louis D said:

I don't recall it being brought up earlier in this thread, but the rings have been "closing" for several years now, making it harder and harder to make out ring details:

spacer.png

I remember the last time they were fully "closed". There was a short period when you could barely make out that the planet had any rings !

I think that was during the winter of 2009.

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Start to show your age when it's possible to remember several ring plane crossings. I remember them fully open high in taurus in the winter of 74. What I'd give for a repeat of that... 😁

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24 minutes ago, skyhog said:

Start to show your age when it's possible to remember several ring plane crossings. I remember them fully open high in taurus in the winter of 74. What I'd give for a repeat of that... 😁

Reminds me of an episode at work.  During a meeting, our team lead said "We've got a long way to go" and I finished his thought with "and a short time to get there" from the theme song to Smokey and the Bandit (1977).  Another old timer says to me "You're showing your age Louis".  We then did a quick poll of the room, and we were the only two who got the reference.  I felt so old at that moment.

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2 hours ago, skyhog said:

I've just checked and the 74 apparition will be very closely repeated in 2032. Not too long to wait... 😁

Steady on now, you're wishing my life away. I'll be 70 years old in 2032. 

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3 minutes ago, mikeDnight said:

Steady on now, you're wishing my life away. I'll be 70 years old in 2032. 

I'll be 72 :rolleyes2:

I wonder which of my current scopes I'll still have then ?

No prizes for guessing what you will be using Mike ! :grin:

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3 hours ago, skyhog said:

I've just checked and the 74 apparition will be very closely repeated in 2032. Not too long to wait... 😁

74 was my first year of observing with a telescope. Looking forward to 2032. But hope to see a lot more in the meantime 

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I have yet to get a clear view of the Cassini Division, though one night I was able (for a slight, fleeting moment) to distinguish a gap in the rings. This was with my 4 inch achro, looking over close buildings...not properly acclimated....now that I think about it, might've been just my imagination😅😅

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