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Neill Saturn Observations


I've looked at Saturn over the past couple of days (and am about to do it again) from Melbourne, Australia.

The first session was from 0300-0530 local time on May 22 (1700-1930 UTC May 21) during which period the Earth passed through the plane of the rings. The seeing was not good (Saturn was low and there was some high cloud) but the absence of the rings was obvious and striking. One forgets how "small" the planet is without the rings. Only one moon was visible.

The second session was during the same period the next day (May 23 local time) when the seeing was a little better and the rings were still at an angle of less that 0.025 of a degree. The "disk" was a definite yellow and there were distinct markings - much more distinct than when the rings are visible. The planet was clearly oval.

I certainly miss the glory of the rings but seeing Saturn without them is an experience not to be missed. It's still worth taking a look - right now they're at an angle of only 0.055 of a degree.

Ralphe Neill

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