Home > Ephemeris Program, Observing, Saturn > 05/21/2015 – Ephemeris – Saturn will reach opposition tomorrow

05/21/2015 – Ephemeris – Saturn will reach opposition tomorrow

May 21, 2015

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 21st.  Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 1 minute, setting at 9:10.   The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 12:21 tomorrow morning, and tomorrow the Sun will rise at 6:07.

The Planet Saturn will be at opposition from the Sun tomorrow, meaning that it is opposite the Sun in the sky, rising at sunset and setting at sunrise.  It also means that Saturn is about it’s closest, brightest, and its largest appearing in telescopes.  It will be 835 million miles (1,344 million km) away tomorrow.  It’s rings should also be at their brightest.  The rings are made of billions of particles, mostly ice.  At opposition we are essentially viewing Saturn from the same direction as the Sun, and ring particle shadows on one another disappear, so the rings are brighter.  Other defining shadows also disappear such as the planet’s shadow on the rings and the ring’s on Saturn, so the planet may appear kind of flat.

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

Addendum

Saturn at opposition

Saturn at opposition, May 22, 2015. Compare the shadow of the planet on the rings with the quadrature image below. Created using Cartes du Ceil (Sky Charts).

Saturn near quadrature

Saturn near quadrature, August 23, 2015. Compare the shadow of the planet on the rings with the opposition image above. Created using Cartes du Ceil (Sky Charts).

A superior planet’s quadrature position (90 degrees from the Sun) is the time we are the maximum amount out of line with the Sun from them.  Any phase of shadows are the most pronounced.  From the planet’s point of view the Earth is at greatest elongation from the Sun.

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