Monday February 23rd, the position of the planet Saturn with respect to the Earth and the Sun places this ringed planet at what is called western quadrature. Saturn is at a 90 degree angle from us as this graphic shows. Think third quarter Moon as that is a fair comparison of the relative positions. At this position Saturn leads the Sun across the sky from east to west as the Earth is rotating, meaning that Saturn rises before the Sun and also sets before the Sun.
Saturn currently is within the constellation of Scorpius the Scorpion as this graphic shows. From the northern hemisphere, looking toward the southern horizon, you can find Saturn above the reddish star Antares. Saturn shines with an apparent magnitude of around 0.5 compared with the 1st magnitude Antares.
Learn a little (or a lot) about Saturn by visiting the Cassini at Saturn mission web site.
Click here to go to the Cassini Mission web site.
Click here to go to the Cassini Mission Flyby web page to see when the next Saturn satellite flyby will be.
This is a short 5 minute video I made as part of a live musical performance called “Orbit” that I was part of in May 2011. This is a piece from the much longer tour of the solar system performance and video and shows Saturn and some of its moons as viewed from the Cassini spacecraft that month.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.