WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Stargazers, astronomers and photographers alike will have a unique opportunity on Friday, when Saturn will be back-lit by the sun, providing a chance to view the planet clearly.
According to Corbis , it’s been seven years since the sun provided this type of view of the sixth planet from the sun. There will be clear photographic opportunities, and scientists will make the most of the view to examine the planet’s rings.
Scientists plan to take advantage of the rare astronomical occurrence by comparing whether the gap in the rings have widened or tightened in the past seven years. They will specifically inspect the E-ring – the outermost ring – to see how it has changed since 2006.
While Westchester County residents are craning their necks to get a view of Saturn, NASA will be looking back. The Cassini spacecraft, which is currently orbiting the ringed planet, will take a picture of Earth from Saturn.
NASA has provided those interested in participating in the Saturn Observation Campaign with tips for how and when to best see Saturn on July 19.
“The best Saturn viewing window is nearing its end and Saturn now sets before midnight. It’s highest at dusk, and the rings are opening wider. Saturn reaches east quadrature when it is 90 degrees east of the sun on the 28th. This gives the planet a 3-D appearance when the planet casts a shadow on the rings.”
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