onight is the closest Saturn will come to Earth – the wife and I have been keeping up on this and kinda wanted to see it. So, at sunset, we planted the telescope in the backyard. I knew Saturn would be coming up at it’s highest angle above the southern horizon at 2:00am, and it would be somewhere just ahead of Scorpius.
Of course, given the fact I couldn’t make out that constellation, not with all the city lighting, made things tricky. I ended up doing the Galileo method – that is looking at every bright star in the sky. Found it pretty quickly (and figured out where Scorpius was right after that).
JB came out and we shared the lens for about an hour, getting best results at 60X to 120X (35X was a bit small). 120 is always tricky to use (that’s the 60x atop the barlow lens). So there was Saturn, right in our laps. As we settled into our viewing, we could see more and more of it, the rings, the bands, and moons Dione and Rhea. Way, way cool.
We then looked at Antares, trying to spot some of the interesting things in its neighborhood but nothing going. I’m still trying to get used to the reversed view the scope affords – when I was up in the mountains, I should have gotten used to it by looking at distant peaks but I didn’t think of that – alas. Next time.
It’s going on 3am and this little stargazer is beat. Off to bed.