Saturn is now in our evening sky. Saturn’s greatest brilliance for this apparition at magnitude +0.1 was expected around MAY 05. Opposition from the Sun occurred on MAY 10 when it was also made its closest approach to Earth for this apparition at 8.8997 AU with an equatorial angular diameter of 18.6 arcseconds. On that date the tilt of Saturn’s rings was +21.7°, implying that its north pole was tipping toward Earth.
Apparent direct motion for Saturn resumed on JUL 21 and eastern quadrature will be reached on AUG 09. Saturn will eventually move to conjunction behind the Sun on NOV 18.
During this apparition Saturn will not appear near any first magnitude stars. It will appear near Mars on 2014 AUG 25.
The Moon will appear to pass near Saturn on 2014 AUG 04, AUG 31, SEP 28 & OCT 25. Each of these will involve occultations for observers on favored portions of the Earth.
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.