My favorite planet is daring you to step outside and look at it this month!
It's easy to see from the city from now through July. In a dark sky, and
through a telescope you'll see subtle cloud bands of custard, butterscotch
and hazelnut crème, and the wafer-thin ring bisects the planet, allowing you
to see its oblateness this month. What a tasty treat for your eyes!
So it should come as no surprise that the topic of my monthly podcast for
March 2010 is Saturn. But I also share the podcast with a challenging
object, the 13th magnitude (nearly as faint as Pluto) asteroid 21 Lutetia,
which is halfway between Saturn on the horizon and Mars (nearly overheard
and the color of a blood orange).
Here are several podcast viewing options:
Many formats, educational activities to compliment the podcast, plus
archives of all 33 podcasts back to April 2007
YouTube, favorite viewing method of my parents :-)
NASA podcast page, easy RSS feed, Itunes
We'll be showing off the lord of the rings April 2-3 in Monrovia and
Monrovia hopefully, after many rained out sidewalk astronomy nights.
For those interested in a getaway, we'll be heading to the desert Saturday
the 13th, weather permitting, undecided where, probably here:
for those who can drive 300 miles
round trip to see a planet. :-) The last 2 miles are a rutted dirt road not
suitable for large trucks and campers, and there are no facilities and it's
not that good for camping, but we love it.
For a little longer drive but a nature bonus, you can also join us April 10
at Mojave National Preserve for a star party hosted by the Mojave National
Preserve Conservancy at Black Canyon Group Campground. In addition to
Saturn, it's spring galaxy season! You will need to RSVP (but there is no
cost or anything) on the announcement page
There are plenty of closer-to-home spots to view Saturn than where we like
to go, beside the sidewalks of Pasadena and Monrovia. Many of the local
astronomy clubs have property or events. Pomona Valley, Riverside, Orange
and Ventura counties, Yucca Valley, and many points S and E plus the Los
Angeles amateur astronomers all hold viewing events each month. Griffith
Observatory would be an excellent spot, with star parties every month too,
usually on the same nights as our sidewalk astronomy. We all love to share
the best moon view on the same nights, and this month Saturn and Mars make
it a bonus!
Here's looking at you, Saturn!
Jane Houston Jones
Senior Outreach Specialist, Cassini Program
JPL - 4800 Oak Grove Drive, MS 230-205
Pasadena, CA 91109 818-393-6435
What's Up For March - Saturn Opposition, asteroid 21 Lutetia!