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Posts Tagged ‘Saturn photos’

Saturn is very nicely placed for evening viewing after sunset during mid to late summer this year. Also, since it is currently at eastern quadrature (a fancy way of saying that the Earth and Saturn are at an especially wide angle from each other with respect to the Sun), it’s currently possible to observe Saturn’s shadow on the rings behind it, and I think I managed to capture a hint of it in the first photo below, even with my supremely modest equipment. It would be on the lower right portion of the rings adjacent to the planet in the photo.

0730032156asaturn17mm2xb 9:56 PM CDT July 30, 2013 (02:26 UT July 31, 2013)
Angular diameter 16.81 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 914,863,000 miles (1,472,329,500 km)
tn_0515030104bsaturn25mm2xb 1:04 AM CDT May 15, 2013 (06:04 UT)
Angular diameter 18.68 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 823,469,500 miles (1,325,245,000 km)
25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow, scaled to match the others
0403030556saturn17mm2xb 5:56 AM CDT April 3, 2013 (10:56 UT)
Angular diameter 18.57 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 828,198,000 miles (1,332,855,000 km)
0221030645asaturn17mm2xb200 6:45 AM CST February 21, 2013 (12:45 UT)
Angular diameter 17.60 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 873,809,000 miles (1,406,259,000 km)
7:01 AM CST November 20, 2012 (13:01 UT)
Angular diameter 15.49 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 992,918,000 miles (1,598,000,000 km)
11:42 PM CDT June 7, 2012 (04:42 UT June 8, 2012)
Angular diameter 18.15 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 847,415,000 miles (1,363,782,000 km)
4:38 AM CDT April 12, 2012 (09:38 UT)
Angular diameter 18.97 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 810,707,000 miles (1,304,706,000 km)
6:13 AM CST January 8, 2012 (12:13 UT)
Angular diameter 16.82 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 913,348,000 miles (1,471,501,000 km)
25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow, scaled to match the others
3:23 AM CDT April 14, 2011 (08:23 UT)
Angular diameter 18.97 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 810,570,000 miles (1,304,487,000 km)

All with 8″ reflector telescope and LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Unless otherwise noted, 17mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow.

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0403030641z
6:41 AM CDT April 3, 2013 (11:41 UT), 8″ reflector telescope with 25mm eyepiece.

The splendid crater Copernicus is Number 5 in Charles A. Woods’ Lunar 100 and can be easily seen in the photo above, and even more prominently in the upper center of this closeup from October 19, 2011, at 7:49 AM CDT (12:49 UT):
1019010749azz
8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, 2x Barlow.

It is a favorable time to view Saturn, as it is approaching opposition on April 28, at which time it will make its closest approach to Earth for this year. Here’s an update:

0403030556saturn17mm2xb 5:56 AM CDT April 3, 2013 (10:56 UT)
Angular diameter 18.57 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 828,198,000 miles (1,332,855,000 km)
0221030645asaturn17mm2xb200 6:45 AM CST February 21, 2013 (12:45 UT)
Angular diameter 17.60 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 873,809,000 miles (1,406,259,000 km)
7:01 AM CST November 20, 2012 (13:01 UT)
Angular diameter 15.49 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 992,918,000 miles (1,598,000,000 km)
11:42 PM CDT June 7, 2012 (04:42 UT June 8, 2012)
Angular diameter 18.15 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 847,415,000 miles (1,363,782,000 km)
4:38 AM CDT April 12, 2012 (09:38 UT)
Angular diameter 18.97 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 810,707,000 miles (1,304,706,000 km)
6:13 AM CST January 8, 2012 (12:13 UT)
Angular diameter 16.82 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 913,348,000 miles (1,471,501,000 km)
25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow, scaled to match the others
3:23 AM CDT April 14, 2011 (08:23 UT)
Angular diameter 18.97 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 810,570,000 miles (1,304,487,000 km)

Last but not least, I’m happy to report that on Sunday evening I made a clear sighting of Comet Pan-STARRS, which this week is passing right by the Andromeda Galaxy, so don’t miss it, because it’s one of the best times available to use a major astronomical “landmark” to find the comet! I don’t expect to post any pictures, as the comet is too faint for my modest photo equipment. but Nathan P. Hoffman succeeded in capturing it here, and a great place to watch for the latest amateur photos is www.spaceweather.com/.

Almost forgot – my photos are taken with an LG VX8360 cell phone camera, as usual. Gotta love the internet … a guy with no money can aim his pocket camera into a weathered old telescope and turn it into an astronomy site …

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This post concludes my longest period ever without posting! Been busy, & the winter has been cold and snowy. But the northern winter has its glories, and here are a couple:
0216031022a
Above: Light, fluffy, delicate snow on tree branches, February 16, 2013 at 10:22 AM.
Below: Sundogs shining through the trees at 9:04 AM on the bitterly cold morning of February 19.
0219030904

It was slightly hazy this morning, but it was so much fun to get out to the telescope again and observe Saturn, I went with it anyway. Here’s a Saturn series, similar in format to my Venus phase updates, beginning with this morning and working back through a few of my best Saturn photos. Note how over time Saturn’s rings are “opening up” as viewed from Earth. Unless otherwise noted, these photos are with the 8″ reflector telescope, 17mm eyepiece, and 2x Barlow:

0221030645asaturn17mm2xb200 6:45 AM CST February 21, 2013 (12:45 UT)
Angular diameter 17.60 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 873,809,000 miles (1,406,259,000 km)
7:01 AM CST November 20, 2012 (13:01 UT)
Angular diameter 15.49 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 992,918,000 miles (1,598,000,000 km)
11:42 PM CDT June 7, 2012 (04:42 UT June 8, 2012)
Angular diameter 18.15 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 847,415,000 miles (1,363,782,000 km)
4:38 AM CDT April 12, 2012 (09:38 UT)
Angular diameter 18.97 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 810,707,000 miles (1,304,706,000 km)
6:13 AM CST January 8, 2012 (12:13 UT)
Angular diameter 16.82 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 913,348,000 miles (1,471,501,000 km)
25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow, scaled to match the others
3:23 AM CDT April 14, 2011 (08:23 UT)
Angular diameter 18.97 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 810,570,000 miles (1,304,487,000 km)

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Above: Saturn (left) and Venus (right, brighter), in conjunction at 6:54 AM CST November 26, 2012 (12:54 UT). 7×35 binoculars.

The clouds finally cleared up just in time to view this much-anticipated conjunction, and not a moment too soon! But it was co-old! It’ll actually warm up a bit the rest of this week, if the prediction holds. Tomorrow morning the two planets will still be in conjunction, but with Saturn appearing above Venus instead of to the left. It looks to me like viewers in places like Asia, Europe, and Africa will actually see a closer stage of the conjunction than we will here in the Americas, so if that’s your locale, then be sure to get up and see the conjunction (of course it’s great here in the Americas as well)! I also glimpsed Mercury very briefly, quite close to the horizon while it was still pretty dark. I have high hopes of observing it during this apparition and even documenting its phases.

Below: 6:59 AM CDT (12:59 UT), with 60mm refractor telescope and 25mm eyepiece:

Here’s Saturn magnified 130x with the 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece and 2x Barlow, at 7:01 AM CDT (13:01 UT):

It’s a week of celestial events, as Wednesday will bring us a penumbral lunar eclipse, that is, a lunar eclipse in which the Moon only passes through the outer, lighter part of the Earth’s shadow and not the central, darker part. In my experience penumbral eclipses don’t show much visible difference, but I’ll be taking a look just the same, if the weather allows. Just as was the case with the lunar eclipses I observed on December 10, 2011 and June 4, 2012, this one will be still in progress when the Moon sets here in central North America. Watch this site for further developments …

Photos with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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I haven’t posted much for a few days, so here’s a big “catch-up:”

Above: Venus shines in the predawn sky at 6:46 AM, November 18, 2012. Though you can’t see it in this photo, Saturn, the ringed jewel of the skies, has reappeared from the far side of the Sun and is a bit to the lower left of Venus. Keep watch these next few mornings, as fainter Saturn and brighter Venus will be closer each morning, and on the mornings of November 26 and 27, 2012, the two planets will be in a spectacularly close conjunction. Don’t miss it!

Here’s a Saturn series, similar in format to my Venus phase updates, beginning with this morning and working back through a few of my best Saturn photos. Note how over time Saturn’s rings are “opening up” as viewed from Earth. Unless otherwise noted, these photos are with the 8″ reflector telescope, 17mm eyepiece, and 2x Barlow:

7:01 AM CST November 20, 2012 (13:01 UT)
Angular diameter 15.49 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 992,918,000 miles (1,598,000,000 km)
11:42 PM CDT June 7, 2012 (04:42 UT June 8, 2012)
Angular diameter 18.15 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 847,415,000 miles (1,363,782,000 km)
4:38 AM CDT April 12, 2012 (09:38 UT)
Angular diameter 18.97 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 810,707,000 miles (1,304,706,000 km)
6:13 AM CST January 8, 2012 (12:13 UT)
Angular diameter 16.82 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 913,348,000 miles (1,471,501,000 km)
25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow, scaled to match the others
3:23 AM CDT April 14, 2011 (08:23 UT)
Angular diameter 18.97 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 810,570,000 miles (1,304,487,000 km)

One treat of our current predawn sky this November is the Venus-Saturn show in the Southeast counterbalanced with bright Jupiter in the Northeast. Here’s Jupiter, gleaming far beyond the wires in my backyard, at 6:50 AM, November 18, 2012:

And here are the giant planet and the four Galilean moons. From upper left to lower right: Europa, Io, Ganymede, Jupiter, Callisto:

6:57 AM CST November 18, 2012 (12:57 UT). 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, 2x Barlow.

Speaking of Venus, it’s now heading towards the far side of the Sun from us, though it still is a bright, resplendent sight before dawn:

12:05 PM CST, November 19, 2012 (18:05 UT)
Angular diameter 12.25 arc seconds
85.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 126,593,857 miles (203,733,064 km)
1:12 PM CDT, October 12, 2012 (18:12 UT)
Angular diameter 14.69 arc seconds
74.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 105,565,517 miles (169,891,262 km)
2:00 PM CDT, September 21, 2012 (19:00 UT)
Angular diameter 16.83 arc seconds
67.3% illumination
Distance from Earth 92,101,088 miles (148,222,333 km)
8:26 AM CDT, September 10, 2012 (13:26 UT)
Angular diameter 18.36 arc seconds
62.7% illumination
Distance from Earth 84,452,528 miles (135,913,169 km)
10:17 AM CDT, September 4, 2012 (15:17 UT)
Angular diameter 19.31 arc seconds
60.1% illumination
Distance from Earth 80,311,754 miles (129,249,240 km)
1:15 PM CDT, August 21, 2012 (18:15 UT)
Angular diameter 22.02 arc seconds
53.5% illumination
Distance from Earth 70,401,199 miles (113,299,747 km)
7:36 AM CDT, August 13 2012 (12:36 UT)
Angular diameter 24.07 arc seconds
49.1% illumination
Distance from Earth 64,429,600 miles (103,689,390 km)
1:39 PM CDT, August 6, 2012 (18:39 UT)
Angular diameter 26.05 arc seconds
45.2% illumination
Distance from Earth 59,516,628 miles (95,782,727 km)
8:52 AM CDT July 30, 2012 (13:52 UT)
Angular diameter 28.56 arc seconds
40.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 54,298,771 miles (87,385,401 km)
5:49 AM CDT July 22, 2012 (10:49 UT)
Angular diameter 31.96 arc seconds
34.9% illumination
Distance from Earth 48,512,519 miles (78,073,332 km)
9:18 AM CDT July 13, 2012 (14:18 UT)
Angular diameter 36.52 arc seconds
27.9% illumination
Distance from Earth 42,450,876 miles (68,318,063 km)
11:56 AM CDT July 3, 2012 (16:56 UT)
Angular diameter 42.79 arc seconds
19.0% illumination
Distance from Earth 36,238,688 miles (58,320,514 km)
11:21 AM CDT June 27, 2012 (16:21 UT)
Angular diameter 47.07 arc seconds
13.4% illumination
Distance from Earth 32,940,927 miles (53,013,283 km)
8:38 AM CDT June 21, 2012 (13:38 UT)
Angular diameter 51.42 arc seconds
7.8% illumination
Distance from Earth 30,154,150 miles (48,528,401 km)
8:57 AM CDT June 12, 2012 (13:57 UT)
Angular diameter 56.46 arc seconds
1.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 27,463,558 miles (44,198,313 km)
7:33 PM CDT June 5, 2012 (00:33 UT June 6, 2012)
Angular diameter 57.78 arc seconds
0.0% illumination, transiting the Sun
Distance from Earth 26,836,379 miles (43,188,966 km)
Projection method with 60mm refractor telescope and 17mm eyepiece

Not to be outdone, here’s the waxing crescent Moon at 6:38 PM CST November 18, 2012 (00:38 UT November 19, 2012), 8″ reflector telescope with 25mm eyepiece. Note that once again the Sun has risen on Mickey Mouse:

All with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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Don’t miss the striking triangle now being formed in the western sky after sundown by Saturn, Mars, and Spica. These objects are assembling in our sky even as the Curiosity Mars Rover approaches its hair-raising landing on Mars. Here are the details:

Meanwhile, my own ultra-low-budget space mission continues, which, for any newcomers, is to explore the Solar System from the relative safety of my backyard, using my good old dusty, trusty homebuilt 8″ reflector telescope and LG VX8360 cell phone camera, and leaving virtually no carbon footprint on this planet or anyone else’s. Here’s Saturn at 9:22 PM CDT August 4, 2012 (02:22 UT August 5, 2012), via the aforementioned telescope using 25mm eyepiece and 2x Barlow.

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It’s been a momentous month in the skies, what with the Venus transit and Mickey Mouse and all! On this site I like to celebrate not only the rare and novel celestial sights, but the everyday and everynight ones as well. I’ll close out June 2012 with an illustration of how the deepening dusk affects the Moon’s appearance, as well as just how tiny Saturn appears in the telescope compared to the Moon:


Above: The waxing gibbous Moon at 9:05 PM CDT June 30, 2012 (02:05 UT July 1, 2012).
Below: 22 minutes later at 9:27 PM, the dusk has deepened. Both with 8″ reflector telescope and 25mm eyepiece.


Above: The northern portion of the Moon at 9:14 PM my time. Crater Plato near the center, with Sinus Iridum, the “Bay of Rainbows,” to its lower left, both on the edge of Mare Imbrium, the “Sea of Rains.” The lunar “seas” or maria (Latin plural for mare, “sea”) are actually lava plains. Both this photo and the one below with 25mm eyepiece and 2x Barlow (130x magnification).

Below: The central portion of the Moon at 9:09 PM my time, with Kepler crater near the center of the photo. Bright Aristarchus and Herodotus are to the upper left, with Reiner to Kepler’s left, just coming into the Sun. To the upper right Copernicus is beginning to wash out in the high sunlight, and Gassendi is the broken-ringed crater in the lower right. All this is in Oceanus Procellarum, the “Ocean of Storms.”

Below: Just to show you how large (or rather, small) Saturn looks compared to the Moon, the photo below is at the exact same magnification and scale as the lunar closeups above:

9:39 PM CDT June 30, 2012 (02:39 UT 7-1-12), 25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow.
Mighty Saturn, the second-largest planet at 74,500 miles in diameter, was 879,502,000 miles distant from Earth at the time of this photo (1,415,451,000 km), as compared to our 2160-mile-diameter Moon, which was about 225,400 miles (362,750 km) distant tonight.

All with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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