The Song of Saturn


There are some places in the world where it seems to be easy to capture beautiful images. When I travelled in Turkey, I felt like I could have aimed my camera blindfolded and came away with great images. It seems there are similar places of excessive beauty in the solar system, and Saturn is one of them.

The Cassini probe has been whipping around the ringed planet since 2004, capturing one stunning image after another. Actually, it takes thousands of images; it’s constantly photographing with two cameras. But among its enormous archives you can find images like the one above, from the first year of Cassini’s artistic residency in the Saturnian System. Here we have Saturn’s rings (foreground in yellow), Saturn’s Northern Hemisphere striated by shadws from its rings (middle ground in blue) and Saturn’s moon Mimas, upper right. Here’s Nasa’s description, and a lovely blog post from Phil Plait that delves into exactly why Saturn has a blue half.

Stumbling across this image on Twitter today was liking hearing the call of the vaster ocean overhead. It’s been a long time since I’ve stood outside with my telescope and looked up with wonder. Saturn and Jupiter have both been gracing our Winter and Spring skies, and I have recorded their presence on most clear nights…but I could never muster the energy to go outside for a closer look. Connection takes focus, and peace. Life is hard, and can easily come between us and our vocations. Especially if we haven’t yet figured out how to turn them into occupations.

It’s been a rough year. But I am emerging, and will not only get back to personal observing, but also to public outreach here in Geneva. Soon, and with renewed energy. As far as I can tell, this is why I’m here.


One thought on “The Song of Saturn

  1. Doug: This is an absolutely lovely post. Just beautiful, And poignant. Very powerful. Thank you so much. I too have stayed indoors for most of the winter and the early spring, and I am feeling some of the emotions you speak of.

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