Thursday, February 21, 2008

Saturn and its Closing Rings

I have not had a lot of time to observe over the past few months, but the opportunity came up the other week to get a telescope out to show my father in law some of the delights of the night sky. Top on the list was Saturn, and I was amazed to see just how much the rings have closed since I last got a good look at the ringed planet.

This image was taken with Bristol Astronomical Socities' newly donated 8" scope (thanks Jan!). It needs collimating, and the helical focuser has a bit of play in it, so a little attention will have to be paid to the scope to get it finely tuned. The result was still worth the effort though. I'm not sure on the make of the scope, but the mount is a Vixen, and it's pretty darn good at tracking too! The whole thing is made of aluminium, so it a lot lighter than my steel EQ5 mount - and thus infinitely more portable. It looks to be a good imaging platform for exposures of a minute or so with good polar alignment.


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