Home > Ephemeris Program, Saturn > 06/21/2016 – Ephemeris – Saturn’s rings are opened about their widest

06/21/2016 – Ephemeris – Saturn’s rings are opened about their widest

June 21, 2016

Ephemeris for Tuesday, June 21st.  Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 9:32, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:57.  The Moon, 1 day past full, will rise at 10:20 this evening.

The planet Saturn, when viewed with anything more powerful than binoculars will see its rings open up to their maximum extent, where the planet itself cannot be seen beyond narrowest part of the rings.  As Saturn moves away from its solar opposition point the shadows of the ring on the planet and planet on the rings becomes more pronounced.  Saturn takes nearly 30 years to orbit the Sun, and like the Earth has an axial tilt.  In Saturn’s case it’s nearly 27 degrees.  Saturn’s north pole star is Polaris like the Earth, except for Saturn it’s 6½ degrees from Saturn’s actual pole.  As Saturn orbits the Sun we seen the rings open up in 7½ years, then close down for another 7½ years, to where they disappear, and then open up again.

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

Addendum

Saturn's Rings over time

Saturn’s Rings over time as they opened the last time. Credit NASA/HST/WFPC2

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