Heads-up: Edge on rings and minor satellites.

Forums Saturn Heads-up: Edge on rings and minor satellites.


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    Dr Paul Leyland

    Many of you know that I like imaging small satellites of planets in the outer solar system. Now that Saturn’s rings are close to edge-on, there is a good opportunity to try to find those satellites which are in close orbits, namely Mimas, Janus and Epimetheus. The first should be within reach of visual observers, given that it was discovered by Herschel long before the development of photography.

    Mimas ought to be relatively easy to image, given that it is magnitude 13.0 and reaches a separation of 28″ at elongation. The other two are mag 14.7 (Janus) and 15.9 (Epimetheus) with maximum separations of 23″. They might be somewhat non-trivial in other words.

    I will give them a go on my return to La Palma. I challenge others to demonstrate their abilities too.

    It seems almost certain that heavy duty image processing will be needed to pick up the fainter pair. However, detecting Thebe near Jupiter suggests that it may be possible.

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