So I went to the Griffith Observatory about two weeks ago. I wanted to explore the place more than I did but it was getting late. I’ll wait on my outer space-lovin’ friend Leslie to visit so we can explore together.
But I did get to see Saturn through the giant telescope. The picture to the left is the monitor showing us what we were going to see – Saturn. The astronomer lady who was the telescope tour guide noted (over and over for the newcomers to the telescope room) that Saturn has 60 moons and on a good night six are visible, “but only one decided to show up tonight.” So I saw Saturn and one of its moons in the telescope.
For waiting in line so long, I wouldn’t say I was disappointed but Saturn sure wasn’t very big – only the size of a sunflower seed.
But it was clear and colorful and the real thing. It was the planet Saturn!
Some perspective: Saturn is the third planet farther out from Earth (…Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) and the sixth planet from the Sun. Saturn is the second largest planet in our solar system. When I looked out the open roof by the telescope, I could see Saturn with the naked eye and then just down to the right was Mars. Saturn is 1.4 billion kilometers from the Sun and it takes about 29.5 Earth years for Saturn to orbit the Sun. That means it has only finished one turn around the Sun in my lifetime. One time around! And I’ve been around almost 33 times!
This thing is enormous. Look at this picture that compares the size of Saturn and Earth.
Still, even with such enormity, Saturn only showed up as a colorful sunflower seed in the telescope. It is super far away. The space between it and us is ridiculous. I am reminded that there is a whole lot going on out there that I can’t even begin to comprehend.