Saturn

The weather report says it’s about 37°F outside, and it’s nice and clear.  I decided to subject myself to the cold and go gazing upwards.

I decided to do a bit of experimenting this time around with AstroPlanner, a piece of software that was demo’d at a recent Seattle Astronomical Society meeting.  Turning on AstroPlanner let me know that Saturn was visible, as I expected, and seeing as it’s already fairly late I decided to focus on that.  Oddly, I’d never taken the opportunity to point the telescope at Saturn.

Since the big telescope is still packed away from our recent roadtrip to the Washington coast (that I still need to blog about), I dragged out the little guy: a Meade ETX-90, a 3.5" f/13.8 Maksutov-Cassegrain.  I haven’t used the little guy very much (cause the LX-50 is superior), and I had to haul out the external DC power cord for it (note to self: re-solder the battery wire in the base of the telescope to fix that).

I pointed it at Saturn, and was presented with a clear view of the planet, her rings, and Saturn’s two largest moons Rhea and Titan just barely visible.  Rhea is showing up at magnitude 9.99, and I couldn’t make it Dione at magnitude 10.51, so that gives me a pretty good idea of what I can see with the ETX-90 from my deck and the suburban lighting.

According to Stellarium, this is what I should see, and I’ve gotta say, it’s pretty much spot-on:

image

If the weather holds out tomorrow night, I think I’m going to haul the big telescope upstairs.