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Saturday, February 3

The February Titan Challenge

Titan is Saturn's largest moon and at 8th magnitude is easily visible in a small telescope or even in binoculars. This months challenge is to spot it and image or draw its position relative to Saturn. If you do this a few times this month you will be able to build up Titan's orbit (It takes just under 16 days)

I took this image last night ( 2nd Feb) using a webcam when Saturn was very close to the moon (less than half a degree away) It is a combination of two images, as Saturn was overexposed in the image exposed for Titan.

Sometimes the Moon passes in front of (Occults) Saturn as viewed from here. You can see a video I took of this happening a few years ago on my website.

The glare from the Moon prevented me spotting Titan in my 10x50 binoculars last night but I plan to try again tonight when the moon will be further away. It will probably be easiest with binoculars when it is furthest from the glare of the planet which is around 1st-2nd , 8-10th, 16th-18th, 24th-26th of the month.

On the 10th Saturn will be at opposition (ie closest to us in its orbit) and so will be at its biggest and brightest. Look out for the Seeliger effect around this date when the rings seem to glow particularly bright.

Good hunting and don't forget to bring your results to the February meeting


  1. Nice image Robin. I tried with the binoculars tonight without any success. I think Saturn is too close to the moon at the moment. Hopefully this weather will continue for a couple of nights!

  2. No luck with binos here either. The trouble is as the moon is moving away, Titan is now closing on Saturn from our perspective. It could be better in a few days time if we get a clear night. On the plus side, I now have two frames for my animation :-)