Saturn in 2003 - 2004

9 Apr 2003

As part of a quick solar system tour made possible by the coming together of 4 planets in the evening sky, I turned my 8-inch telescope with webcam attached to Saturn. The result is my best ever picture of Saturn, and I was even more pleased to discover that I had captured Saturn's largest moon, Titan, too.

Saturn and Titan, 9 Apr 2003

Saturn; 9 Apr 2004, 21:57BST (20:57UT).

The rings of Saturn are still wide open, though the tilt is not quite as much as last year. The dark Cassini Division that separates the inner & outer rings is very clear.

In breaking with convention of previous years, I have presented this picture as it would appear in the sky, with North to the top and East to the left. The sun therefore shines from the right, so the planet casts a shadow on the rings behind it to the left.

The planet itself is more yellow than the rings and the equatorial region is slightly lighter than the temperate regions, with a dark cloud belt separating the two.

In life the appearance of rings and planet is much more yellow than seen here, as I have used a blue #80A filter to increase the contrast. Nevertheless some infra-red leakage remains, giving an unnatural overall pink tinge to the image.

To catch Titan was a bonus as this was not expected. It is rather blurred as it has received no special enhancement and has had to chance it on images aligned on the main object of study, Saturn.


Last Year Saturn Gallery

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