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University of Hawaii Images of Saturn


August 11, 1995

Aug 11 (UT) R-band coronagraphic image. The ring plane crossing occurred about 15 hours before this 60 second exposure was taken. The A-ring has become remarkably brighter. This is because for the time between the first ring plane crossing on May 22 UT, and the second ring plane crossing (Aug 10 UT), we were viewing the dark side of the rings, but now we are seeing the side which is illuminated by the Sun. The A-ring is thoroughly saturated in this image.

A direct comparison between Aug 10 UT and Aug 11 UT images, each with the same exposure time, clearly shows how bright the inner rings have become.

The faint E-ring is still visible in a deeper display of the same image.

This image can also be viewed with circularly symmetric scattered light subtracted. The bright satellites are, left to right, Tethys, Enceladus and Rhea, to the east of Saturn, and Dione to the west of Saturn.

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The A-ring has now become so bright that only very short exposures with a CCD on a large telescope remain unsaturated. A 5 second R-band exposure, taken about one hour earlier, was the longest exposure which didn't saturate the inner ring. Note that the very bright disk of Saturn, and most of the ring system which we usually see (A, B, C rings), are hidden behind the occulting spot of the coronagraph. The very faint E-ring can still be seen in a deeper display of the same image.

The observer was David Jewitt; the images were obtained with the University of Hawaii 2.2-meter telescope. Only minimal processing has been applied to these data.

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Ron Baalke