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Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2005

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SATURN , Ben Alford


Perhaps the third-most recognizable body in the solar system, (first and second being the Earth and the Sun respectively) Saturn is an amazing sight. Saturn is a gigantic planet, stretching a linear distance of 440,000 miles (rings included) and an angular size of 2' (that's 1/30 of a degree). Saturn is a Jovian planet, meaning that it is primarily composed of gas: 75% hydrogen, 25% helium. The rings, thousands of miles in diameter and less than one kilometer thick, are made up of a countless number of tiny particles.

While not particularly exciting at first glance, the image reveals some very important information. One can see with little difficulty that Saturn's rings are divided into at least two distinct bands. The black and white exposure is quite effective in showing some of the bands of clouds in the planet's upper atmosphere. Saturn confused astronomers for quite sometime because the earth is periodically aligned with the edge of Saturn's rings. This causes the rings to disappear for a time. In 1659 Christiaan Hugens solved the issue, explaining the bazaar phenomenon. One does not have to look very far to see the wondrous work of God. Saturn's unique impression on the Rehoboth telescope is proof of the Creater's atristic and careful hand.



Right Ascension (J2000) 07:31:34
Declination (J2000) 21:56:11
Filters used Halpha
Exposure time per filter

.1 seconds

Date observed

April 19, 2005