have been trying to produce regular articles on 'Wyenot
News' to commemorate this year being the International
Year of Astronomy, which is also coincidentally my personal
interest and last night decided that it might be nice to
take a look at the Planet, Saturn and its moon Titan. Saturn,
with its system of rings is undoubtedly the prettiest object
in the night sky but at the moment it is not easy to see
them as they are currently edge on to us.
evening of astronomy started badly. After what had been
a beautifully clear day with blue skies, I set up the telescope
- a job which takes about half an hour - with the planet
clearly in view. I switched the laptop computer which I
use for filming on and plugged in the camera. Immediately,
the area of the sky containing Saturn, a bright moon and
an orange street lamp clouded over for a further half an
hour. Eventually I saw a gap in the cloud heading towards
the planet and so got my fingers in position on the computer's
mouse pad to start filming and the damned thing crashed.
By the time I managed to reboot, Saturn was behind a further
half hour's worth of cloud.
not to give in, I waited around in the balmy 2 degree C.
evening air and eventually the planet emerged into a clear
sky. I am so glad that I did! Saturn's ring system is only
a matter of a few miles wide and supposedly very difficult
to see when they are edge on to Earth but, at a distance
of over 7 billion miles, my 8 inch telescope picked them
out perfectly. To be honest, I was astounded at how clear
they appeared. They are easy to see when the planet is tilted
but I just could not believe being able to see them edge
are a couple of photos which I managed to stack from the
video I filmed, plus one in which I deliberately over exposed
the planet so that the moon, Titan would be picked up. Titan
in itself is an interesting world - more like a planet than
a moon. It has an atmosphere very similar to primeval Earth
and is a prime contender for sustaining life.
can also watch the short film I made of the planet, using
live, on screen shots, actual film from the astro imager
and still photos from the resulting stacked video.
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