Saturn Plays Hide and Seek

On May 22, 2007, Johannes Schedler shot this stunning mosaic of Saturn emerging from behind the Moon from Wildon, Austria, using his 16-inch Cassegrain telescope. Click on the image for a larger view.
Johannes Schedler
Amateur astronomers have a lot in common. There's our love of the outdoors, our fascination with nature and science, and our appreciation for the finer things in life — like precision optics and rock-steady atmospheric seeing. But I think we also share another, less attractive common bond: envy. Usually it involves equipment, but sometimes it involves something as simple as opportunity.

I'll be honest, when I first saw this dramatic mosaic compiled by Johannes Schedler, I was awestruck. Then I was jealous. Why did he get to see such a spectacular scene, and I didn't? The short answer is because he was in Austria on May 22nd, and I was in Boston. Schedler (and anyone else in Europe who had clear skies), had the chance to watch the Moon's dark edge cover Saturn in the late afternoon/early evening. Planetary occultations are among nature's most majestic celestial scenes. One look at an image like this and it's easy to see why.

Sure it's petty and juvenile to be jealous. And yes, over time North America will see its fair share of celestial events that our friends across the pond will miss. I'm just most happy that another trait we all possess is our desire to share the wonders of the universe with others. That way we can all be awestruck by nature's beauty — regardless of where we live.

Do you have images you wish to share? Please submit them to our photo gallery, and take the time to see what amazing things others have witnessed from their locales. It's okay to be a little jealous.