The planets Earth and Saturn are currently aligned in the same general direction from the Sun. April 28th was the date of the most direct alignment called opposition. Saturn was in the opposite direction of the Sun as viewed from Earth. Saturn rises in the east each evening at about the same time the Sun sets. By late evening it is positioned high and is a pleasing sight in a telescope.
I am fortunate to have an account with the University of Iowa’s Robotic Telescope called Rigel. It is located at the Winer Observatory near Sonoita in southern AZ. The children of the Rigel director were in my physics classes years ago. He kindly gives me the account for my use. On the night of May 4, the Rigel telescope obtained this image for me of the planet Saturn.
How cool is that? I got to use a telescope over a thousand miles away to get this image. What if I could use a spacecraft actually orbiting Saturn to see images up close and in great detail? I would want to see some of the fine structure details of the rings. Galileo called the rings ‘ears’ when he first saw them in 1610.
I have done just that. I gathered several beautiful pictures for you of the rings up close and personal. Would you like to see?