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Water Cooler – Amateur Astronomers And Saturn


Photo courtesy of NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

I’ve had space on the brain since I was a 4 year old watching the launch of Apollo 13 with my new puppy Apollo. Even though that mission didn’t go as planned it got the space bug planted firmly in my brain.

While Space Lab would come and go, one of the most vivid space memories I have is of watching the first Saturn images come in from Voyager 1 in 1980. Our local public access station ran the feed from the JPL where the images were being displayed. It was awe inspiring to see the image build up line by line and think that these were pictures from billions of miles away.

For all the high tech that has been sent into space it is there is still a role for ground based astronomy. Case in point, amateur astronomers have been reporting for weeks that there is a new and massive storm on the second largest gas giant. Right now we have a very good space craft in orbit in the Saturn system, but until the 28th of this month Cassini had not been in position to show the new storm.

It kind of tickles me that even though we have a probe there, it the backyard astronomers who found the new storm. I wish that I could give you a picture of the new storm but even though NASA says they have seen it, they have yet to release pictures.

So, what is on your mind tonight, Firepups? The floor is yours!

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Bill Egnor

Bill Egnor

I am a life long Democrat from a political family. Work wise I am a Six Sigma Black Belt (process improvement project manager) and Freelance reporter for Govtrak.org

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