You may have heard that yesterday there was a rare planetary conjunction, in which Jupiter and Saturn appear very close together in the sky! Well, the planets will still be close for several days, and I thought I would go out tonight and try a few shots with my old Canon PowerShot camera, which did surprisingly well.
So, here’s one of the best images I got, where you can actually see the rings of Saturn, probably not much different than Galileo did when he first looked at the planet through a telescope in 1610!
Fun trivia: much like my image above, to Galileo the rings appeared as two dots on either side of the planet, which slowly appeared to disappear as the days passed. What Galileo didn’t know is that the rings were tilting towards him, making them effectively invisible, but Galileo wrote to a friend, “Has Saturn devoured his children?” (Which is appropriate, if one knows the story of Saturn.)
In a bit of a disappointment: while my camera was making exposure adjustments while I snapped the shutter, I could clearly see the moons of Jupiter, though the auto exposure adjustments basically left them completely out of the picture. However, I think you can spot a trace of two of them in different images, which seem to correspond to the positions in other people’s photographs taken at the same time.
Here, you can see one in the upper left of the image, which has been contrast adjusted:
Actually, you will certainly not see it if you just look at the picture above! But if you click on it and zoom in, you can see a tiny extra dot in the image!
Similarly, I think you can see another moon down and to the right of Jupiter in the following image, though you will probably have to click and zoom to be sure.
Again: I’m pretty sure that these are the moons, as they’re in the right positions: all the moons ran diagonally from upper left to lower right. But I could be wrong…
I may figure out some more features of my camera and try again tomorrow night to see if I can get better shots of the moons! In the meantime, here is a picture of our moon!