Alluring Views of Saturn Nearing Time of Opposition

October 05, 2021


Photographer: Marek Stromayer

Summary Author: Marek Stromayer; Cadan Cummings

The picture above of Saturn was captured on July 18, 2021 in St. Petersburg, Florida using a ZWO ASI224MC camera mounted to a Celestron 130 SLT telescope and a EQ6-R Pro computerized mount. The timing of the photo above coincided with Saturn nearing its date of opposition, which occurred exactly two weeks later on August 1-2, 2021. The next opposition for Saturn will occur on August 14, 2022. Saturn has been a favorite night sky sight for astronomers for centuries. Known as one of the five “wandering stars” (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) to ancient civilizations, Saturn was first observed through a telescope in 1610 by Galileo Galilei. Although Galileo was the first to see the planet’s disk, it took a further 50 years for astronomer Christiaan Huygens to discover the planet possessed its iconic rings. In more recent years, astronomers have focused on studying the many Moons of Saturn. As recent as 2019, a group of 20 new objects were discovered, bringing the official number to 82 confirmed Moons. However, only around 13 of these Moons have diameters larger than 31 miles (50 kilometers). Look for Saturn currently in the constellation Capricornus

Photo details: Celestron 130 SLT telescope, EQ6-R Pro computerized mount, ZWO ASI224MC camera, ZWO ADC dispersion corrector, processed using Autostakkert and Registax

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