[AZ-Observing] Saturn in twilight

  • From: "Steve Coe" <stevecoe@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2004 19:54:34 -0700

Howdy Az observers;
As AJ and I have found many time before, the second night after a storm front 
is often the best observing and tonight (Sunday) is indeed.

I rolled back the roof on the 7 inch Maksutov and turned on the fan as the Sun 
set and let it cool down in twilight.  As about 2nd magnitude stars and 
obviously the planets came out I put in an eyepiece and started to observe 
Saturn at progressively higher powers.  It was steady and showed lots of detail.

The ball of the planet had three distinct bands with the hood over the pole 
very dark and prominent at 250X.  I decided to try higher powers and went to 
350X, the highest power eyepiece I have easily available in the observatory.  
The 7.5mm Lanthanum showed the crepe ring at the inside aspect of the rings on 
both sides and it was easier to see where it crossed the ball of the planet.

Cassini's Division is amazing when the rings are open this much, it surrounds 
the ball of Saturn and cuts the rings into those two unequal sections.  I use 
it to focus the scope when it is this prominent.

As the darkness closed in, my 20 minutes or so of calm air was done and the 
frantic mixing of the warm and cool air masses started up.  I could see the 
detail go away "right before my eyes".  Oh well, there was a program on the 
History Channel I wanted to watch anyway.

After all these years of observing the sky, I have yet to get jaded by a view 
of that beautiful ball and ring on a good night in a good telescope, may it 
always be so.

Take Care;
Steve Coe  

Author "Deep Sky Observing--The Astronomical Tourist"
Saguaro Astronomy Club website
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