On the night of May 10th, Saturn will be at its closest point to Earth for 2014 and the best it has appeared since 2007. Slooh will broadcast the event live from their telescopes off the west coast of Africa in the Canary Islands on May 10th starting at 6:30 PM PDT / 9:30 PM EDT / 01:30 UTC (5/11) International Times. Viewers can watch free on Slooh.com. The live image stream of Saturn will be accompanied by discussions led by Slooh host Geoff Fox and Slooh astronomer Bob Berman. Viewers can ask questions during the show by using hashtag #Slooh.
This event will occur as the fastermoving Earth glides directly between slowmoving Saturn and the Sun. As a result, Saturn will be nearer to our planet than anytime in 2014. It will look at its biggest, show maximum detail through telescopes, and become brightest in the sky at magnitude +0.1. Slooh will use its Canary Island telescope to observe the giant ringed world, and “throw open” its doors for live viewing of this stunning planet.
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and second largest, with a radius of about nine times the planet Earth. Saturn’s most pronounced features are its rings made up of mostly water ice which are thought to be only typically 30 feet (10 meters) thick. More than 60 moons are known to orbit this ringed gasgiant, some of which are especially intriguing including Titan. Titan is the second largest moon in our solar system behind Ganymede, and is bigger than the planet Mercury. Titan has a nitrogenrich atmosphere that may have been similar to Earth’s long ago.
Says Berman, “Saturn has not looked this good since 2007. That’s because its rings assumed their edgeon orientation for several years, making telescope observation of ring detail impossible. Now they are splayed at such a gratifying tilt, they visually form a nearly unbroken structure completely around the body of the planet. We expect to easily see its famous inkyblack Cassini division, situated between the A and B ring, where the icechunks that make up its rings have been swept clean by tidal meddling from its moon Mimas. Nearly everyone regards Saturn as the most beautiful planet in the known universe. On May 10, Slooh will let everyone to see it for themselves live.”
Backyard astronomers can point their telescopes to the constellation Libra where it will first appear in the south east at night fall.