Saturn Apparition - Opposition 2015 MAY 22

A plotting of the planet in equatorial coordinates of current date during 2014 DEC 08 to 2015 NOV 08 - See article below.

Saturn Declination - 2004-2032

A plotting of the declinations of the planet at oppositions from 2004 to 2032

Saturn Apparent Ring Tilt Graph - 2014-15

Graph of the tilt of Saturn’s rotational axis as viewed from Earth Identical tilt for the plane of Saturn’s rings

Rings of Saturn - 2014-15

Graphic illustrating the positioning of Saturn’s rings as viewed from Earth during 2014 DEC 13 to 2015 SEP 29

Rings of Saturn - 2002-2032

Graphic illustrating the positioning of Saturn’s rings as viewed from Earth during the 30 oppositions from 2002 to 2032

Rings of Saturn - Zero & Extreme Tilts

Graphic illustrating the positioning of Saturn’s rings as viewed from Earth at moments of zero and extreme tilts from 1988 to 2046

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                               2015 APPARITION OF SATURN

Ringed Saturn has entered the eastern predawn sky following its conjunction behind the Sun on 2014 NOV 18. Western quadrature (90° from Sun) will be reached on 2015 FEB 23. Apparent retrograde motion will commence on MAR 14.

   Greatest brilliance for this apparition is expected around 2015 MAY 20 at magnitude +0.0. Opposition from the Sun will occur on MAY 23 when the planet will be out all night. On that date Saturn will have a southerly declination of 18.3°. Its axial tilt will be +24.4°, meaning its north pole will be tilted toward Earth while its rings are prominently displayed. Also on that date it will be at its closest to Earth for this apparition at 8.9667 AU with an equatorial angular diameter of 18.5 arcseconds.

   Apparent direct motion will resume on 2015 AUG 02. Eastern quadrature will be reached on AUG 21 before conjunction behind the Sun on NOV 30.

   Saturn will appear to pass north of Antares by 8.4° on 2015 MAR 12. The Moon will appear to pass by Saturn on 2015 JAN 16, FEB 13, MAR 12, APR 08, MAY 05, JUN 01, JUN 29, JUL 26, AUG 22, SEP 19, OCT 16 & NOV 13.

NOTE: Events in this article are geocentric in Universal Time unless otherwise noted.

*  A meridian transit occurs when a celestial body crosses an observer’s local north-south line in the sky. That is practically simultaneous with culmination, i.e. the highest altitude for the day. The Saturn meridian transit times in the above linked graph can be easily transformed for your location. The given times are nearly the same for the central meridians of all time zones, i.e. those evenly divisible by 15° such as 75°, 90°, 105° or 120°. Do not adjust to UT. Simply add to the chart time 4 minutes for each degree west of a central meridian, or subtract 4 minutes for each degree to the east. If on daylight savings time, add an hour.

© Curt Renz

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Saturn Stellar Magnitude - 2014-15

Graph of the brightness of Saturn measured in stellar magnitude

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Saturn Angular Diameter - 2014-15

Graph of the equatorial apparent angular diameter of Saturn measured in arcseconds  -  Distance in AU = 165.46 / angular diameter

Saturn Illumination Phase - 2014-15

Graph of the percentage of Saturn’s apparent disk illuminated

Saturn Meridian Transit Time* - 2014-15

Graph of the times that Saturn transits the prime meridian during 2014-15

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12 Deals of Christmas begins!