Home > Uncategorized > 08/02/2021 – Ephemeris – Saturn is closest to us and enters the evening sky today

08/02/2021 – Ephemeris – Saturn is closest to us and enters the evening sky today

August 2, 2021

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Monday, August 2nd. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 36 minutes, setting at 9:06, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:31. The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 1:55 tomorrow morning.

Today the ringed planet Saturn is at opposition, that is, opposite the Sun in our sky, rising at sunset and setting at sunrise. Saturn, then, is as close to us as it can get at 832 million miles (1,339 billion kilometers). Its rings are getting noticeably thinner now. Their narrow dimension is less than the planet’s diameter. Saturn’s axis and rings, which orbit over its equator, keep the same orientation in space as it orbits the Sun, just as the Earth’s axis does, giving us our seasons. Saturn’s seasons last nearly seven and a half of our years. Since about 2017, the rings have been closing, imperceptibly at first, but by March 2025 they will be edge-on, and will disappear, since for their great breadth of 175,000 or so miles (282,000 kilometers), they are less than 100 feet thick.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT – 4 hr). They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Saturn and rings tonight

An enlarged view of Saturn and its rings as created by the program Cartes du Ceil (Sky Charts). Note that the globe of Saturn now extends past the narrow dimension of the rings. The rings will continue to narrow  until March 23, 2025.

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