View Full Version : Get your Telescopes Ready...

11-12-2003, 05:03 AM
Moon and Saturn Together in the Night Sky

This week will provide a special opportunity to view the ringed planet as Saturn and the Moon make a very close approach to one another in the night sky.

This event, known as a conjuction, will take place on Wenesday and Thursday nights. the Moon and Saturn will be visible in the eastern sky beginning around 9:30 PM local time, shifting toward the southern sky after midnight and the western sky by dawn. See the sky chart below for more details.

Saturn's rings are formed from ice and rock. Though they appear solid when viewed from a telescope or with the naked eye, the rings are made up of small pieces of frozen material collected together in a layer with a thickness of only a few thousand feet.

Observing Saturn can be a challenging task for skywatchers. Though it is the second largest planet behind Jupiter with a diameter of 120,000 kilometers, the beauty of Saturn is in the details.

With a small telescope, you can pick out an important detail - Saturns edges are darkened, making the planet look like a pool ball or marble, while its rings appear relatively flat.

With a larger telescope, you can pick out the shadow that Sataurn's ring makes on the middle of the planet. You can also pick out the Encke Minimum, a gray band embedded within Saturn's rings.

Yellow and green telescope filters will help to improve contrast and provide a slightly sharper blue view of the ringed planet.

Look for sky charts from Sky and Telescope Magazine - customizable to your location - to be available on WeatherBug in the next few months.
By WeatherBug Meteorolgist, Justin Consor

Sky and Telescope Magazine (http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/planets/article_304_1.asp)

More on Saturn (http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/saturn.html)

11-13-2003, 05:51 PM
The way the wind is howling here, I ain't steppin outside fer nuttin!!!!!:)