Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Saturn and Beyond the Infinite

In the novel (and in earlier versions of the screenplay), the Discovery was heading for Saturn, rather than Jupiter, in 2001: A Space Odyssey. When I first read the book (several months before seeing the movie during its first run), my mind was filled with the vistas of Saturn, its dancing moons, and the rings. This was further enhanced by some of Clarke's collected short works such as Jupiter V and Saturn Rising.

Saturn (along with Jupiter and the Moon) were among my first sights through my first telescopes. Whenever Saturn hoves into view, I'll focus whatever scope I have out towards it to see the rings and catch a glimpse of its belts and its moons. Amazing stuff, to see with the "naked eye" even after several decades of (sporadic) observing.

It is nice to see that reality matches and outstrips our imagination. Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the rings, Titan, Dione, Pandora and...if you look very carefully...Pan.

Beyond the infinite, indeed.

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