at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Looking Up: Saturn and...moon?

I was prompted by one of my cousins to get out my telescope tonight--after seeing a picture of hers on Facebook!  I suddenly realized that it had been far too long since I'd gazed at the night sky.  Sure it gets dark late now, but the weather is warm and I'm usually up late anyways!  The first thing that caught my eye tonight was a star.  It wasn't completely dark yet and it was the brightest star I could see from my spot on my back deck.  I wasn't sure what it was, and was wondering about it as I admired it through my telescope.  I then looked up and saw it's relationship to the Big Dipper and thought I'd go look it up on the computer when I suddenly remembered the memorization trick I wrote about last year: Arc to Arcturus.  If you follow the trajectory of the arc of the Big Dipper's handle, you'll land on Arcturus -- which is also hard to miss because of its brightness!  And that's definitely what it was.  I then I looked down in the sky a little from there to land on this year's favorite: Saturn.

I had heard that a couple of years ago, when I first saw Saturn through my telescope, it's rings were on edge, so you couldn't see the full breadth of them.  Last year I did notice a change, but I think it looks even more different this year.  It could just be my bad memory, but I can really see the rings distinctly from the planet (with visible spaces between the rings and planet) this year. It is still so very tiny in my little telescope, but beautiful nonetheless.

I'm not sure, but I may have happened upon something else tonight.  Off to one side of Saturn was a tiny, faint speck.  I wondered if it could be a moon.  I've seen Jupiter's Galilean moons through my telescope before, but never any other planet's moons (besides our own, of course).  I checked my Starry Night program to see where Saturn's moons were currently situated in relation to the planet from my perspective.  Here's what I came up with:

The speck I saw was about where Titan should be.  Titan is the largest moon of Saturn and the second largest moon in the Solar System.  Whether or not it should be visible through my telescope, I have no idea.  But, I just might have seen it.  I definitely couldn't see anything closer to Saturn where you see some of the other moons are clustered.  At any rate, it prompted me to look up some more information and re-learn some of Saturn's moons!  Hopefully I'll be more diligent with my telescope for the remainder of the warm months!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!