|January 21, 2002 2:30 UT|
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder
Though not as good as it can get, the seeing is good enough to allow a very crisp view at 247X in the 10-inch Newtonian. The image degrades slightly at 388X but is still filled with plenty of detail. Saturn's rings are open about 28 degrees. The innermost C or Crepe ring appears as a semitransparent charcoal gray. The planet is visible as a brightening through the Crepe ring. The inner third of the B ring presents as noticeably darker than the outer two-thirds, which is the brightest portion of any of the three main ring systems. Cassini's division is a thick dark circle separating the B and A ring systems. A broad central region within the A ring appears slightly darker than the inner and outer edges. This feature is commonly referred to as Encke's minima.
Saturn is capped by the dark South Polar Region (SPR). The broad Equatorial Zone (EZ) is bordered to the south by the thick South Equatorial Belt (SEB). An Equatorial Belt (EB) within the EZ is subtle, thin and most prominent near the following limb. The broad region between the SPR and SEB appears mostly uniform and light gray in hue. Several moons are seen, including Rhea, Tethys, Dione and Enceladus.
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Revised: February 9, 2004 [WDF]