Saturn

I got up at 6am and took a quick look at Saturn. I had a hard time finding it at first; Venus was obvious and I thought Saturn would be just above, didn’t realize how big 17° would be. But I found it and pointed the scope and boom, there it is, bright star with rings. I could see the rings as a distinct object from the planet pretty well, the dark cap between the rings and planet. Couldn’t see the Cassini division. I did see Titan though, just a whisper of a hint of a moon there, but it was in the right spot. I might have even seen hints of other moons but not with any certainty.

Speaking of certainty, it makes me appreciate how much easier it is to see these things now that we know what we’re looking for. I just point at a section of the sky and once I see what I already know is there, I’m done. How much work it must have been for the first telescope astronomers to look at this planet and see it had a funny shape, but it was fuzzy and they weren’t sure and only after many repeated observations from many people would there be a consensus that, yes, the planet has rings.

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