This is the apparition during the current half of Saturn’s 29.5-year orbital cycle in which the rings appear most greatly tilted toward Earth.
Opposition from the Sun occurred during the night of 2017 JUN 14-15 when Saturn was in the sky all night. All of the events noted in this paragraph occurred near that night. Saturn appeared 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 was expected at stellar magnitude +0.0. Saturn’s north pole was tilted by 26.6° toward Earth, meaning its rings appeared similarly tilted. Saturn’s closest approach to Earth was 9.0427 AU while subtending an equatorial angular diameter of 18.4 arcseconds.
Apparent direct motion in right ascension resumed on 2017 AUG 25. Eastern quadrature (90° from Sun) was reached on SEP 13 before conjunction behind the Sun on DEC 21.
Saturn will appear near Mercury on 2017 DEC 06 and no other bright planets or stars during this apparition.
The Moon last appeared near Saturn on 2017 NOV 20.
NOTE: Event dates 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.