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Posts Tagged ‘Saturn’

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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I continue to receive many visits from people searching for “Mickey Mouse on the Moon,” and of course I’m happy to oblige. As mentioned before, I believe this recent trend finds its original source in the discovery, via the MESSENGER spacecraft, of a “Mickey Mouse” crater formation on the planet Mercury:
NASA – Mickey Mouse Spotted on Mercury!

Meanwhile, tonight was my first chance to photograph the area I like to call “Mickey Mouse on the Moon” since the beginning of the hype. It consists of the crater Janssen and adjoining craters. For more info about the region click here:
The Full Moon Atlas


The waxing crescent Moon at 9:29 PM CDT June 24, 2012 (02:29 UT June 25, 2012), 25mm eyepiece (65x magnification). “Mickey Mouse” is in the southern region, towards the bottom of this photo. Like most astronomical telescopes, my reflector produces an inverted image, but I generally flip it right side up when editing Moon photos.


The Moon was shining through this rather pretty sky at dusk. 9:21 PM.


A closeup of the southern portion of the Moon at 9:32 PM, magnification doubled using a 2x Barlow lens.


A closeup from the above photo. “Mickey” is in the upper right, and a somewhat mouse-eared configuration also appears in the lower left. “Minnie,” perhaps?!?


Saturn at 10:01 PM CDT June 24, 2012 (03:01 UT June 25, 2012), 17mm eyepiece and 2x Barlow (191x).

All with 8″ f8 homebuilt reflector telescope and LG VX8360 cell phone camera.

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Above: Saturn at 4:38 AM CDT April 12, 2012 (9:38 UT), 17mm eyepiece and 2x Barlow (191x magnification). Saturn is three days away from opposition, and as of this photo is 810,707,000 miles from Earth (1,304,706,000 km) with an angular diameter of 18.97 arc seconds. Compare with these previous Saturn photos below:


Above: 6:13 AM CST 1-8-12 (12:13 UT), 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, 2x Barlow (130x magnification, but I resized the photo to make it appear on the same scale as the photo below). At the time of this photo Saturn was 948,348,000 miles distant from Earth (1,471,500,000 km), with an angular diameter of 16.82 arc seconds. You can see how much more the rings have “opened up” during the last nine months, and I’m pleased that I was now able to capture a bit of Saturn’s shadow on the rings, as well as a hint of Cassini’s Division.

Below: For comparison, a rerun of my photo from 3:23 AM CDT 4-14-11 (8:23 UT), 8″ reflector telescope, 17mm eyepiece, 2x Barlow (191x magnification). At that time Saturn had just passed opposition and was a “mere” 810,570,000 miles from Earth (1,304,487,000 km), with an angular diameter of 18.97 arc seconds.

Here’s the Moon at 6:34 AM CDT April 12, 2012 (11:34 UT), with 25mm eyepiece (65x magnification). Click to enlarge:

All with 8″ reflector telescope and LG VX8360 cell phone camera.

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