Category Archives: Wow!

See the gorgeous ringed planet Saturn and its moons

Now is a great time to see Saturn, perhaps the most beautiful planet in the night sky.

Saturn will be in opposition to the sun on Friday at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT on May 23). This means that the ringed planet will be directly opposite the sun in our sky. It will rise as the sun sets in the evening, shine brightly all night long, and set as the sun rises at dawn.

If you just look at the sky on a single night, everything seems quite static. But if you watch Saturn over a period of a few weeks, for example, and note its position against the background stars, you will see that it is in constant motion.

Currently Saturn is moving with what is called “retrograde motion,” from left to right against the background stars. This is actually an optical illusion caused by the Earth’s much more rapid movement around the sun. Once the Earth is well past Saturn in early August, Saturn will appear to reverse directions and begin moving in its true direction, from right to left.

Dawn spacecraft starts to orbit Ceres

The Dawn spacecraft has started orbiting Ceres, the largest-known body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, taking “close-up” images that scientists hope will reveal the mystery of a pair of bright spots on the dwarf planet –

More on the Dawn Mission here –

Best ever view of dwarf planet Ceres

The 950km-wide object, known as Ceres, has been pictured at a resolution that exceeds anything seen previously by telescopes, even Hubble.

Nasa’s Dawn spacecraft can see details on the  icy rock’s  surface down to a scale of 22km per pixel.  The new picture was taken on Monday, January 26th  from a distance of 237,000km –

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Discovered in 1801, Ceres was once known as a planet, then reclassified as an asteroid. It was recast as a dwarf planet, like Pluto, in 2006.

Scientists pinpoint SATURN with exquisite accuracy

Scientists have paired NASA’s Cassini spacecraft with the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio-telescope system to pinpoint the position of Saturn and its family of moons to within about 2 miles (4 kilometres) –

More about Saturn here  –