Slooh will broadcast a free, real-time feed of Saturn at opposition, with the giant planet’s rings now optimally angled at over 13 degrees, revealing them better than they have appeared in the past five years. Slooh’s coverage will begin on Sunday, April 15th starting at 6:30 PM PDT / 9:30 PM EDT / 01:30 UTC (April 16th). Slooh will provide two distinct observatory feeds – one from a remote location in South Africa and the second from our world class observatory site in Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. The broadcast can be accessed at Slooh’s homepage or by visiting Slooh’s G+ page, where you will be able to see the panel interact live via G+ Hangouts On Air.
Slooh will have an intriguing panel of experts throughout the event, including Duncan Copp, producer of many astronomical documentaries, including In the Shadow of the Moon; Amanda Hendrix, Cassini’s deputy project scientist from NASA JPL; and Bob Berman, author of numerous astronomy books and contributing editor and monthly columnist for Astronomy Magazine.
“In 40 years of observing the heavens and watching people’s reactions to celestial glories, I’ve found that no object elicits more amazement and sheer wonder than Saturn. I am thrilled to be part of Slooh’s live close-up visit to that magnificent planet,” said Bob Berman.
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 gas-giant, 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 nitrogen-rich atmosphere that may have been similar to Earth’s long ago.
After a seven year journey, the Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn since 2004 and continues to explore the planet with its mission being extended to 2017. By mid 2009, Cassini had returned more than 200,000 images.
To see the rings of Saturn during opposition, astronomy hobbyists should point their telescope east to southeast at nightfall and south around midnight. For reference, Saturn will be near the bright star, Spica, in the constellation Virgo.