Sunday, August 9, 2009

Rings of Saturn...

will disappear from view on 11 August when a ring-plane crossing event occurs. This ~15 year periodic occurrence is due to when the tilt and position of the planet in its orbit combine to allow Earthling astronomers a unique side-on view of the rings. The last time this occurred was on 22 May 1995 as shown in this image. No worries, though, as the rings will reappear by the time Saturn returns to the night skies for telescopic examination in the spring of 2010.

In the meantime, use this occasion to learn more about Saturn and its ring system. In my opinion it is the most beautiful object in the night sky when observed in a telescope. Don't ever miss an opportunity to take a peek.

UPDATE: Mysterious Object Rips Through One of Saturn's Rings

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