Saturn Apparition - Opposition 2016 JUN 03

A plotting of the planet in equatorial coordinates of current date during 2015 DEC 19 to 2016 NOV 18 - See article below.

Saturn Declination - 2010-2039

A plotting of the declinations of the planet at oppositions from 2010 to 2039

Saturn Apparent Ring Tilt Graph - 2016-17

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 - 2016

Graphic illustrating the positioning of Saturn’s rings as viewed from Earth

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

Saturn 01 Saturn 02 Saturn 07 Saturn 08 Saturn 09 Saturn 03

                           2015-16 APPARITION OF SATURN

Ringed Saturn appears in the southwestern sky after sunset, and continues to shine until late in the evening.

   Opposition from the Sun occurred during the night of  2016 JUN 02-03 when Saturn was out all night. Brightness for this apparition was expected to reach a sharp peak around the time of opposition at magnitude +0.0 (similar to Arcturus or Vega) due to the lack of visible shadowing by ring particles upon each other. At that time Saturn was in the constellation Ophiuchus at a declination of 20.6° south of the celestial equator. Its north pole was tilted by 26.1° toward Earth. Its ring plane was similarly tilted. Closest approach to Earth of 9.0149 AU occurred near the opposition when Saturn subtended an equatorial angular diameter of 18.4 arcseconds.

   Apparent direct motion in right ascension resumed on 2016 AUG 13. Eastern quadrature was reached on SEP 01 before conjunction behind the Sun on DEC 10.

   Saturn will appear near other bright planets and stars on the following dates: Venus 2016 OCT 29, Mercury NOV 23.

   The Moon will appear near Saturn on 2016 OCT 06, NOV 02, NOV 30. There will be no lunar occultations of Saturn during this apparition.

 NOTE: Events in this article are for North American Central Time.

*  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.

Saturn 10

Saturn Stellar Magnitude - 2016-17

Graph of the brightness of Saturn measured in stellar magnitude

Saturn 04 Saturn 05

Saturn Angular Diameter - 2016-17

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

Saturn Illumination Phase - 2016-17

Graph of the percentage of Saturn’s apparent disk illuminated

Saturn Meridian Transit Time* - 2016-17

Graph of the times that the planet Saturn transits the prime meridian

Saturn 06
Orion's Deal Zone

© Curt Renz