Archive for June 3, 2014

Want to check out what’s going on at the 224th American Astronomical Society meeting in Boston this week?

June 3, 2014 Comments off

Twitter hashtag #aas224.  You’ll get bits and pieces of what’s going on and lots of cool images.


06/03/2014 – Ephemeris – Observing Saturn’s rings over the years

June 3, 2014 2 comments

Ephemeris for Tuesday, June 3rd.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 22 minutes, setting at 9:22.   The moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 1:11 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 5:59.

The planet Saturn is now well placed to see with a telescope.  It’s located in the southeast.  The brightest star in that direction.  It takes a telescope of only 20 power magnification to spot the rings.  A bit more power and the planet can be detected apart from the rings.  Most of the light reflected by Saturn comes from the rings.  The rings are still opening up, and will be for the next 3 years.  The rings orbit the planet over its equator, and Saturn has an axial tilt of some 26 degrees.  Over Saturn’s nearly 30 year journey around the sun, its seasonal changes go from solstice when the rings are open wide, to equinox where the rings, only about 90 feet [30 meters] thick on average, seem to disappear.

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



Saturn’s ring appearances over that last Saturnian half-year from the equinox in 1995 through southern hemisphere spring and summer to the equinox 2009. Illustration Credit: NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI)