Friday, February 24, 2006

Saturn tonight

I finally got out tonight for the first time since about November for a little stargazing. It was a perfect night, if a bit nippy. Except for the fact that I was set up in the backyard with multiple neighbor's lights shining in my eyes, cars passing by, and that goddamn tulip poplar obscuring most of the sky. In spite of all that, the sky was very clear and much more steady than usual. I put my 5.8mm Antares in (345x) and sat peacefully with a towel over my head to block out some of the light and spent a good hour and a half with Saturn.

Saturn is truly amazing. After looking at it for a while, the disk looks completely three-dimensional. You almost feel like you can touch it. And it's almost impossible to believe that those bright rings are a 1-km-deep plate of dust. Tiny Tethys was barely visible in the glare near the rings. Here's hoping we get another good night tomorrow, when I'm planning to head out of town for some slightly darker skies.


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