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Posts Tagged ‘Saturn Opposition’

06/15/2017 – Ephemeris – Saturn is at opposition from the Sun today

June 15, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, June 15th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 9:29, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:56. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 1:28 tomorrow morning.

The Planet Saturn was in opposition with the Sun at 5:15 (09:15 UT) this morning. That means that it was 180 degrees from the Sun, well 178.6 degrees to be exact, because the Earth is a bit south of the Sun-Saturn line. This is a time when the shadows of the rings on the planet and planet on the rings almost disappear, due to our vantage point. Saturn is also closest now at 842 million miles (1.356 billion km). It average distance being about 940 million miles (1.5 billion km). In three months our emissary to Saturn, the Cassini spacecraft will dive beneath Saturn’s clouds to burn up after using up almost all its maneuvering fuel. Then we with our telescopes on and around Earth will remain the only link to the ringed planet.

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

Addendum

Saturn at opposition

Saturn at opposition in a perspective view of the solar system which compresses the fact that Saturn is 10 times farther from the Sun as the Earth. Created using my LookingUp program.

06/02/2016 – Ephemeris – Saturn at opposition

June 2, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, June 2nd.  Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 22 minutes, setting at 9:22, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:59.  The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 5:11 tomorrow morning.

In the wee morning hours tomorrow Saturn will be in opposition from the Sun.  It is a time Saturn will rise at sunset and set at sunrise.  It is also a time that Saturn is closest to the Earth, so it will appear its largest in our telescopes.  Saturn’s variance of apparent size over its appearance in our skies isn’t as dramatic as much closer and smaller Mars.  For Saturn which orbits the Sun at nearly 10 times the Earth’s distance from the Sun varies in apparent size plus or minus 10% over it’s synodic period of 12½ months.  The synodic period is the interval between oppositions or conjunctions of the Sun.  One benefit of being in opposition is that Saturn and its glorious rings will be up all night.

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

Addendum

Saturn finder chart

Saturn finder chart. Looking low in the south-southwest at 11 p.m., June 2, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

Saturn and its moons

Saturn and some of its 63 moons at 11 p.m., June 2, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

 

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

May 21, 2015 Comments off

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.