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The false-color image at right shows spectral mapping of Saturn's A, B and C rings, captured by Cassini's Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS). It displays an infrared view of the rings rather than an image in visible light. The blue-green areas are the regions with the purest water ice and/or largest grain size (primarily the A and B rings), while the reddish color indicates increasing amounts of non-icy material and/or smaller grain sizes (primarily in the C ring and Cassini Division). June 13, 2019. Image courtesy NASA Jet Propulsion Lab

EYES TO THE SKY: All night planets Saturn, Jupiter. Overnight astronomy holiday

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By Monday, Jul 8, 2019 Learning

July 8 – 21, 2019

Mount Washington — Tomorrow, planet Saturn arrives at “opposition.” Like Jupiter last month, Saturn is now coming into position opposite the Sun in Earth’s skies. Saturn rises in the southeast at 8:20 p.m. on the 9th – 8:23 p.m. tonight, the 8th – opposite sunset in the northwest within seconds of 8:31 p.m. both evenings. All summer, Saturn will be visible at least until midnight, before setting in the southwest as the Sun rises in the northeast. Tomorrow morning, the 9th, Saturn sets at 5:37 a.m.; sunrise is at 5:26 a.m. and the precise moment of opposition is 1 p.m. EDT.

Image courtesy NASA Science – Solar System Exploration

Saturn is at its brightest for the year. The ringed planet’s apparent magnitude is 0.05. When compared to Jupiter, at magnitude -2.54, Saturn is not much brighter than many neighboring stars. Note that the smaller the magnitude number the brighter the celestial object.

Saturn rises about four minutes earlier every day. On the 21st, the planet rises at 7:29 p.m. opposite sunset at 8:24 p.m, Saturn sets at 4:42 a.m. on the 22nd, when sunrise is at 5:36 a.m. Alan MacRobert, senior editor of “Sky and Telescope” and “Star Date” columnist, writes: “Two weeks on, you’ll find that Jupiter and Saturn are noticeably westward (to the right) of where they appeared at the same time of night two weeks earlier. Remember the formula for the turning of the sky: Looking two weeks later is the same as looking one hour later.”

As the gibbous Moon waxes to full this month, it steps above Scorpius and Sagittarius, pairing with Jupiter and Saturn along the way. Image courtesy Sky and Telescope, with permission

Dreaming of an eyes-on, hands-on astronomy immersion and camping vacation? Organized by the same group that brings us the always enlightening and inspiring Northeast Astronomy Forum, the Rockland Astronomy Club is hosting its annual Summer Star Party in a dark sky park in Plainfield from July 26 – August 4. Open to all ages and interests, from professionals to amateurs and novices, registration is open for single day to full 10-day program. Go to http://www.rocklandastronomy.com/ssp.html.

Resources

Opposition – https://www.heavens-above.com/glossary.aspx?term=opposition and https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/resources/13963/saturn-at-opposition/

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA23170

Opportunity to participate

July 26 through August 4 – Rockland Astronomy Club Summer Star Party in Western Mass.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/KIqkKdFS5FI and http://www.rocklandastronomy.com/ssp.html and http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1112373293322&ca=07c4665a-2a6d-4dd0-8d3b-a02e6fb9b691


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