Saturn Apparition - Opposition 2017 JUN 14-15

A plotting of the planet in equatorial coordinates of current date during 2016 DEC 30 to 2017 NOV 30 - 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

                         2017 APPARITION OF SATURN


Ringed Saturn will commence its apparition in the predawn eastern sky a couple of weeks after its conjunction behind the Sun on 2016 DEC 10. This will be the apparition during the current half of Saturn’s 29.5-year orbital cycle in which the rings will appear most greatly tilted toward Earth. Western quadrature (90° from Sun) will be reached on 2017 MAR 17. Apparent retrograde motion in right ascension will start on APR 06.


   Opposition from the Sun will occur the night of 2017 JUN 14-15 when Saturn will be in the sky all night. All of the events noted in this paragraph will occur near that night. Saturn will appear in the eastern region of the constellation Ophiuchus near its border with Sagittarius at a declination of 22.0° south of the celestial equator. Greatest brilliance for this apparition is expected at stellar magnitude +0.0. Saturn’s north pole will be tilted by 26.6° toward Earth, meaning its rings will appear similarly tilted. Saturn’s closest approach to Earth will be 9.0427 AU while subtending an equatorial angular diameter of 18.4 arcseconds.


   Apparent direct motion in right ascension will resume on 2017 AUG 25. Eastern quadrature will be reached on SEP 13 before conjunction behind the Sun on DEC 21.


   Saturn will appear near Mercury on 2017 JAN 09 & DEC 06 and no other bright planets or stars during this apparition.


   The Moon will appear near Saturn on 2016 DEC 27, 2017 JAN 24, FEB 20, MAR 20, APR 16, MAY 13, JUN 09, JUL 06, AUG 03, AUG 30, SEP 26, OCT 24, NOV 20. 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

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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
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© Curt Renz

  Saturn