Ringed Saturn’s opposition from the Sun occurred during the night of 2018 JUN 26-27 when Saturn was in the sky all night in Sagittarius at a declination of 22.5° south of the celestial equator. The following were all expected around the time of opposition. Saturn’s north pole was tilted by 26.0° toward Earth, meaning its rings appeared similarly tilted. Its closest approach to Earth was 9.0488 AU while subtending an equatorial angular diameter of 18.4 arcseconds. Greatest brilliance for this apparition was expected at stellar magnitude +0.0.
Apparent direct motion in right ascension resumed on 2018 SEP 06. Eastern quadrature will be reached on SEP 25 before conjunction behind the Sun on 2019 JAN 02.
Saturn will not appear near any more bright planets or first magnitude stars during this apparition.
The Moon will appear near Saturn 2018 OCT 14, NOV 11 & DEC 09 (occultation).
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.
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