Tonight, April 28th, the planet Saturn will be at it’s closest to us, and shine it’s brightest in our night sky as it is in opposition. This very simply means that our planetary orbits have brought us together with Earth positioned directly in between Saturn and our Sun, as the off-scale image below shows, [image via theakumalian.com].
The only other planets we can view at opposition would be those beyond Earth’s own orbit, such as Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune, unlike Mercury and Venus which orbit inside of Earth’s own orbit.
This will be our best view of Saturn in six years, so make sure to get your telescopes, cameras, and eyes ready! If you’re in an area that happens to be over-cast, or over-saturated in light pollution, you can watch the celestial event live online via the Slooh Space Camera here, broadcasting from a feed via it’s telescopes in Spain’s Canary Islands. You can also watch the Saturn webcast live on SPACE.com beginning at 9:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday (0130 GMT Monday).
Everyone is expecting an extraordinary all night show, with Saturn’s beautiful rings perfectly tilted for viewing from Earth, and an anticipated brightness that is comparable with some of our night sky’s brightest stars like Betelgeuse. “Its shadow will fall so that neither the east nor west side of the rings is darkened.” [x] Not only will we get a stellar view of Saturn’s famous rings, but it’s large and noticeable storm will also be in a perfect position for all to see, usually with the aid of a telescope and/or other astronomical viewing instruments.
So how do you find Saturn?
Firstly, Saturn is golden in colour, so when picking it out amongst the stars that should help a bit. It will be located east of the well-known star named Spica, that appears blue-white when being viewed in the night sky.”How can you find Spica? Use a phrase familiar to stargazers: follow the arc to Arcturus and drive a spike to Spica. In other words, first locate the Big Dipper in the northeast now in the evening. Follow the curve in its handle until you come to the orange star Arcturus in the constellation Bootes. Extend that line until you the star Spica. The planet Saturn will be lower in the sky, about 15o below Spica. For reference, a fist at an arm legth approximates 10o of sky.” [x]
As shown in the images via EarthSky below:
Saturn will continue to stay in spacial relation to Spica and follow it across the night sky, reaching it’s highest point around midnight. Because Earth’s atmosphere tends to thin out towards the top and be more “settled”, by the time Saturn is high in the sky it will be more clear to see, and Saturn’s spectacular rings will be much more visually prevalent for all telescope users.
Saturn shall become visible after night-fall and stay that way for the whole of the evening after, so make sure to get out there early, and bring your friends and family. And remember to give your eyes time to adjust to the natural-darkness; put your phones, ipods, tablets, and laptops away, and avoid looking at any man-made light 30-45 minutes before you expect to dive into your sky-watching to get the best view. Enjoy, and don’t forget to take pictures if you can!
A Henge Beneath in Streaky Bay, South Australia by Dylan Toh & Marianne Lim
“These granite inselberg rock formations arise abruptly from a paddock of sheep with open surrounds. On this cloudless night, I had one hour between sunset and moonrise to take as many exposures of the milky way high overhead. I was fortunate that there was enough time to trial a few compositions in the dark before settling on this panorama of 14 vertical images.”
Silent Night photo series of the day: “Darkened Skies” by Thierry Cohen
Even with relatively brief blackouts in major metro areas, it’s really hard to imagine the entire world suddenly going dark at once. This photo illustration series by Thierry Cohen looks at what thriving global cities would look like with not a single light on anywhere for thousands and thousands of miles.
Buckyball by Leo Villareal- Madison Square Park Art. New York City.
This is a large-scale work by light installation artist Leo Villareal called Buckyball that is on display in Madison Square Park until February 1, 2013.
The work’s two nested geodesic spheres are comprised of 180 LED-tubes arranged in a series of pentagons and hexagons that contain thousands of individual pixels capable of displaying 16 million distinct colors. Controlled by custom software designed by the artist, the 30 foot tall illuminated sculpture animates Madison Square Park’s natural landscape with dynamic, random light sequences of varied color, opacity, speed, and scale.
Zero-gravity couches, are placed at the base of the sculpture to allow viewers to gather and contemplate the artwork. The couches and sculptural aspects of the installation reference elements of the park and add a physical and temporal dimension to the viewer’s multisensory experience of Buckyball.
I went for a little walk in the fog last night and ended up sitting on one of the zero-gravity couches in Madison Square Park (as mentioned above) and staring at this installation for quite a long time since it constantly changes. This installation is quite a sight to behold and is very mesmerizing. The fog was quite thick last night as well as you can see through the light next to the tower in the background which is the MetLife Tower. Not a bad way to spend a foggy evening in New York City!
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And, I mean, here’s more Japan.
For some reason, this reminds me of Cowboy Bebop.
These other-worldly coronas of light are a result of the Kopp Etchells Effect.
When the conditions are just right in the deserts of Afghanistan, sand in the air strikes titanium/nickel abrasion strips in the rotors of Chinook Helicopters.
Times Square from 55th | NYC | 2012
*NY, I fell in love with you yesterday.*
Greenwich meridian at night-London, UK
(by vulture labs)
Lower East Side alley on a bitterly cold winter night. New York City.
I have some great news to share. I was contacted by Overlook Press a few months back regarding commercial usage of one of my photos from this past winter for the cover of an upcoming book by David Zeltserman. Of course I agreed!
The book is called A Killer’s Essence and it will be released on October 13, 2011. You can view the page for A Killer’s Essence on Amazon here and you can read some recent reviews of the book on Overlook Press’s blog.
If you are curious about what the book jacket looks like, I have the original photo, the book cover and the back of the book jacket all on display on my Google Plus Profile here:
The photo was taken last January on a night with windchill below zero degrees fahrenheit and temperatures that were rather unforgiving. I love walking around at night in winter all bundled up but this night was almost unbearable. I can almost feel the frigid wind on my face when I look at this photo. New York City in the midst of winter is not the friendliest of places but it does possess a certain stark beauty during the colder months.
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