A summer for looking at Saturn

NASA photo of Cassini’s last mission.

Andrei and Alona look at one of Andrei’s astronomy books from when he was a little boy.


For many years Alona and her son, Andrei, have taken English lessons together.  Now Andrei is finishing his 1st year at university.  Alona con- tinues her English lessons at home and contributed this sweet family story of their mutual love of astronomy.   

WHEN I was a girl I fell in love with astronomy. It happened when I discovered my brother’s school textbook on astronomy.  He was 11 years older than I was.  I couldn’t put his book down.  Then my father began to teach me about astronomy and so, all my life, I have loved it.  When I was expecting my son, I began to collect books for him.  Even before he was born I had books on astronomy and dinosaurs waiting for him. Now he, too, loves astronomy.

     This film about NASA’s Cassini Mission [see below] is simply epic. It’s like a miracle. I remember when Cassini lifted off from the earth. I couldn’t believe that such a thing was possible.  It seemed like a fairy tale. But now it has become true. It makes me feel proud to be a human.  For humans even to think of such a thing is incredible!  To calculate so many infinite details to make this mission possible is beyond imagination. And now they’re doing new programs to do even more complicated things!  

     When you watch the video be sure to notice seconds 33-34. You will see a hexagon on the north pole of Saturn.  Scientists knew about this amazing shape but they couldn’t believe how exact it was, like it was drawn there.  They learned that the shape is made by clouds that somehow keep sharp edges and never mix with the atmosphere beyond the hexagon. But they don’t know why it is this shape or how it holds this shape.  —Alona

 ©preInterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com