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John

1st Saturn session this opposition

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I had a nice 2 hour session with Saturn in the early hours of this morning with my 6" refractor.

Dark, clear skies but not the best seeing - Saturn was rising above my neighbours rooftops so there inevitably some heat plumes rising from them as well which did not help.

The rings are nicely presented now and there was a sharp planetary shadow cast onto them where they pass behind Saturn's disk. A single equatorial cloud belt was the only detail visible on the planets disk as is often the case. The less-than-ideal seeing prevented a clear view of the Cassini Division and I had to be satisfied with a couple of fleeting "suggestions" of it's presence.

Titan and the fainter moons Rhea, Tethys and Dione were fairly easy to pick out. I might have glimpsed Iapetus as well but I was not certain of that.

I also had a look at my old favourite double star - Porrima (Gamma) in Virgo, which was nearby. It's gradually opening up as we view it so it's a little less challenging this year. I reckon the separation is around 1.5 arc seconds currently and the 6" refractor gave me a clean split at 240x and 320x.

It was so nice to have a decent session again and it was the 1st proper run out for the 6" Meade with the Chromacor corrector in place. With the CA substantially reduced you can push the magnification and I was getting clear, crisp images @ 320x which the uncorrected scope just can't compete with. Even Sirius was only showing a small splash of purple despite it's low altitude.

A very nice early morning session :)

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I got the scope out this morning to look at Saturn, last time I looked at it the rings were head on, this time I could see them, wow! Also took a look at Venus.:)

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Have not ventured out in the earl mornings yet to see Sarurn but hope to do so shortly.

Would love to see it through a big refractor like yours. I bet when the seeing is good the view is amazing.

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I also got my first look of the year at Saturn this morning, and the first time I've seen it with the rings opened up. I picked up a band with a 5", and only 200x, but wasn't sure if I was seeing a shadow from the rings - a bit shakey though, was experiencing some sharp gusts of wind.

Edited by Tantalus

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The shadow I saw was cast onto the rings by the planet - it appears as a black "notch" in the ring system just before it passes behind the planetary disk. It was showing on one side of the planet but not the other. This (very oversized) picture shows what I mean:

post-12764-133877516094_thumb.jpg

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