Home > Ephemeris Program, Saturn > 05/08/2014 – Ephemeris – Saturn will reach opposition from the Sun this weekend

05/08/2014 – Ephemeris – Saturn will reach opposition from the Sun this weekend

May 8, 2014

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 8th.  The sun rises at 6:23.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 8:55.   The moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 3:37 tomorrow morning.

In two days Saturn will be in opposition from the sun.  That means the Earth will be nearly directly between the Sun and Saturn.  Saturn will be the closest it gets to the earth all year, at 828 million miles (1,334 million km).  Saturn, being about nine and a half times the earth’s distance from the sun, doesn’t vary its distance from the Earth by a great percentage, so it’s a great telescopic object at any time it’s visible.  Mars, being closer and smaller is best seen near the time of opposition.  One effect of opposition is the minimum amount of shadows between the planet and the rings visible.  The shadows will increase until Saturn is 90 degrees from the sun, or quadrature, on August 10th.  Then they will diminish again until it’s in conjunction with the sun.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.


Saturn's shadows

Saturn at opposition and quadrature showing the maximum shadow at quadrature. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Note that the different tilt of Saturn in these two views is due to the fact that Saturn is in the east at opposition and in the southwest at quadrature, helped out by the fact that we’re viewing it from 45 º north latitude.  The different sizes of Saturn is due to Saturn’s greater distance of 919 million miles  (1,481 million km) on August 10th.  The little circle artifact in the center of the planet is due to telling the program that I’m tracking Saturn, so I wouldn’t have to re-find the planet when I shifted 3 months.

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