Saturn at East Quadrature-2015

   Friday August 21st the position of the planet Saturn with respect to the Earth and the Sun places this ringed planet at what is called eastern quadrature. Saturn is at a 90 degree angle from us as this graphic shows. Think first quarter Moon as that is a fair comparison of the relative positions. At this position Saturn follows the Sun across the sky from east to west as the Earth is rotating, meaning that Saturn rises after the Sun and sets after the Sun.

   Where is Saturn now? Saturn is west (to the right) from the planet Saturn and near the eastern side of the constellation Libra the Scales.

Learn a little (or a lot) more 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.

   
   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Saturn Occultation

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   During the course of the day on Tuesday 10 June the waxing gibbous Moon, as it moves eastward along its orbital path, will pass by the planet Saturn. The two will be their closest at 19 UT (2 pm CDT), which for my time zone and latitude is during the daylight hours as well as before the Moon rises. However as the two rise the Moon will be within a few degrees to the east from the planet Saturn making for a striking pair as this graphic is showing.

   saturn-occultationViewing this lunar-planet conjunction from other latitude locations will show the gap between the two to range from as it does from my latitude to no gap at all. The latter would be at latitudes where the viewing angle is such that the Moon occults, or passes in front of Saturn, which relative to the Moon is in the background. From the latitude of Queenstown South Africa (31o 54′ S : 26o 53′ E) observers will be able to see the Moon occult Saturn as this animated graphic is showing.

   
   
   
Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Saturn-Moon Conjunction

   This morning the waning crescent Moon passed within 1 degree from the planet Saturn. I spent about an hour outside, from 6:30 to 7:30 or so, and in that time waited until the Moon and Venus moved out from behind the occulting tree branches of an Oak tree in the backyard; took pictures of Saturn and the Moon, then an ISS flyover, and then back to Saturn and the Moon. I completely forgot about Mars near Spica and the very bright Venus rising through the trees. Next time!
    The two pictures below represent my efforts to find the right settings to not overexpose the Moon, but still manage to get something not as bright like Saturn in the same picture. The settings are on each one and are more legible if you click on either image to see it full size. I used a 250 mm lens by the way. These pictures below are actually cropped pictures from the originals.
f9ISO1600_1-60th
f9ISO800_1-60th

   
   
   

   
   
   
   
   
   

   
   
   
Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Moon Snuggles Up To Saturn

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   The planet Saturn will rise on Saturday morning, tomorrow, within about 1 degree from the just past last quarter Moon – now a waxing crescent Moon. The banner graphic at the top of the page is an exaggerated view of the two but it is also showing how close the Moon passes by Saturn. Closest is at 8 am CST – 14 UT when the two will be separated by about 0.5 degrees.
saturn-moon9am   Daytime Saturn Sighting? Since the Moon will be so close to Saturn it is possible that you could do a daytime sighting of the planet. This simulated view through 7×50 binoculars is set for 9 am CST – 14 UT. If my skies are clear I will be outdoors taking pictures. If successful I’ll post a follow-up blog.pictures from after Saturn rise and as long as I am
   
   
   
Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.