See Saturn at its best tonight: Here's how
Friday, May 22, 2015, 1:01 PM - Saturn, our solar system's "Lord of the Rings" is nearly at opposition - its closest point to Earth all year - and the astronomers at the Slooh Community Observatory are presenting a live show on Friday night so that the world can see it.
Saturn is already bright in our night skies, rising at dusk and setting at dawn, and with the benefit of a telescope or a good pair of binoculars, the view of this massive, ringed planet can be quite spectacular.
On the night of Friday, May 22, however, we are afforded our best view of the planet all year long, when it reaches opposition - the point when the Sun and Saturn are on exactly opposite sides of the Earth.
The positions of the planets on May 22, 2015. Not shown to scale. Credit: SolarSystemScope.com, with edits by author
Typically the best time of the year to check out the planet, there's a special event going on this night that will benefit even those who don't have a telescope of their own.
The Slooh Community Observatory will be hosting an incredible live look at Saturn, which will begin broadcasting at 9 p.m. ET, via the video stream embedded below:
According to Slooh:
The live broadcast will be manned by Slooh Host Eric Edelman, Slooh Astronomer Will Gater, and a special guest incredibly knowledgeable about Saturn and its moons: Cornellian Planetary Scientist, Dr. Jonathan Lunine. The conversation will center around what we have been discovering about this planet from the budding Cassini mission, with a focus on the search for life on Saturn’s moons. Viewers can ask questions to be considered live with the hashtag #SuperSaturn
"Seeing Saturn for the first time is a very special moment for any astronomer," says Will Gater, UK-based astronomer and Slooh host. "I can't wait to share the live images with our Slooh viewers - hopefully we'll introduce many budding astronomers to this beautiful world. I'm also really looking forward to hearing what planetary scientist Jonathan Lunine has to say about the incredible moons that orbit Saturn. Science and spectacular views - this show will have it all!"
Miss the show?
Even if you miss the live presentation, the video stream will be available to watch in replay afterward, so click the video above to start the show.
Who or what is Slooh?
Slooh (pronounced 'slew'), formerly known as the Slooh Space Camera, is a community, membership-based telescope project. While their live broadcasts are available, free, to the public (and these are becoming more numerous throughout the year), members of the community have wider access to Slooh's resources, including archives, daily highlights and a forum for discussing all things astronomy with the rest of the member base. Their Citizen Astronomer level even opens up the possibility of taking robotic control over one or more of the five telescopes they are connected to, on the Canary Islands (off the coast of Spain) and in northern Chile.
RELATED VIDEO: NASA's Cassini probe has been giving us closeups of Saturn and its moons for years now. Check it out!