Subscribe

Saturn Opposition Showing Spectacular Rings (Live Feed)

By Belinda McCallum
Epoch Times Staff
Created: April 15, 2012 Last Updated: April 16, 2012
Related articles: Science » Space & Astronomy
Print E-mail to a friend Give feedback

 

Please note that the live feed accompanying this article will only be active for a few hours from 6:30 p.m. PDT / 9:30 p.m. EDT on April 15.

More celestial action is on the cards for sky watchers this weekend with Saturn set to oppose the sun on Sunday, April 15.

Earth will be directly between the sun and the giant ringed planet, making it visible all night. Normally Saturn is only visible in the early morning.

Its rings are now at an optimal angle of more than 13 degrees, which means they will look their best for five years.

To locate Saturn, look east to southeast after dusk or south at midnight. Those with telescopes will be able to see the rings, which are composed of dust and tiny pieces of water ice believed to be only 30 feet (10 meters) thick on average.

Slooh Space Camera is broadcasting a live feed combining observatories in South Africa and the Canary Islands off Africa’s west coast.

A panel of experts are poised to discuss the event, including NASA scientist Amanda Hendrix, who is Cassini Deputy Project Scientist, and astronomy author Bob Berman, who writes for Astronomy Magazine.

“In 40 years of observing the heavens and watching people’s reactions to celestial glories, I’ve found that no object elicits more amazement and sheer wonder than Saturn,” said Berman in a press release.

“I am thrilled to be part of Slooh’s live close-up visit to that magnificent planet.”

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has been studying the sixth planet from our sun since 2004 with its mission currently extended to 2017.

The gas giant has over 60 known moons, such as Titan, which is the second largest moon in our solar system and is larger than Mercury.

Saturn In Natural Colors, as taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The ring swirling around Saturn consists of chunks of ice and dust. Saturn itself is made of ammonia ice and methane gas. The little dark spot on Saturn is the shadow from Saturn's moon Enceladus. (Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA/ESA))

Saturn In Natural Colors, as taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The ring swirling around Saturn consists of chunks of ice and dust. Saturn itself is made of ammonia ice and methane gas. The little dark spot on Saturn is the shadow from Saturn's moon Enceladus. (Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI/NASA/ESA))

Follow Belinda McCallum, EpochTimesSci & EpochTimesSpace on Twitter

Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/epochtimessci

Please send any feedback to qa.science@epochtimes.com




GET THE FREE DAILY E-NEWSLETTER


Selected Topics from The Epoch Times

Asia Week NY Spring 2013