Friday, February 22, 2008

Great week for space fans

Wednesday: The Space Shuttle Atlantis makes a safe trip home.

Also Wednesday: A lunar eclipse graces us here in our tiny hamlet as well as across the world.

Thursday: Star Wars!!! The U.S. Navy shows that math and physics can come together to protect the world from dead spy satellites everywhere.

By the way, if you want to take a long, loving look at the Ringed One, now is your time. says that now is the best time to see Saturn shining in sunlight with its rings at the correct angle to be seen clearly.

NASA's photo, not mine, unfortunately.

In fact, I was stunned when I looked carefully at the photo I took Wednesday night of the eclipse. (Be my guest and save it to your hard drive if you wish.) If you enlarge the photo to where the moon seems about as large as a fingertip on your monitor, you can clearly see that Saturn is no star -- it is spherical and large, and the fuzzy halo circling it almost vertically are the ice rings.

(Not to say that stars aren't spheres, too, but at this distance they tend to look more like dots or points of light. The planets have a more visble disk shape -- one way you can spot them in the sky with the naked eye.)

I couldn't believe I could get even that level of detail from a regular ol' digital camera. I salivate to think what I could do with this. Hubby just had the great idea of viewing Saturn through the digital video camera we have, the signal of which can be output to my portable DVD player for a more comfortable viewing angle. Must try!

Live long and prosper, y'all. :)

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