© NASA/Cassini

Saturn at solar conjunction

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Outer Planets feed

Objects: Saturn
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Saturn will pass close to the Sun in the sky as its orbit carries it around the far side of the solar system from the Earth.

At closest approach, Saturn will appear at a separation of only 0°05' from the Sun, making it totally unobservable for several weeks while it is lost in the Sun's glare.

At around the same time, Saturn will also be at its most distant from the Earth – receding to a distance of 11.02 AU – since the two planets will lie on opposite sides of the solar system.

If Saturn could be observed at this time, it would appear at its smallest and faintest on account of its large distance. It would measure 15.1 arcsec in diameter.

Saturn
Saturn at opposition
Saturn
Saturn at solar conjunction

A comparison of the size of Saturn as seen at opposition and at solar conjunction.

Over following weeks and months, Saturn will re-emerge to the west of the Sun, gradually becoming visible for ever-longer periods in the pre-dawn sky. After around six months, it will reach opposition, when it will be visible for virtually the whole night. A chart of the path of Saturn across the sky in 1961 can be found here, and a chart of its rising and setting times here.

The position of Saturn at the moment it passes solar conjunction will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Angular Size
Saturn 19h32m10s 21°39'S Sagittarius 15.1"
Sun 19h32m -21°45' Sagittarius 32'31"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 10 May 2021
Sunrise
05:38
Sunset
20:02
Twilight ends
21:50
Twilight begins
03:46

28-day old moon
Waning Crescent

0%

28 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:35 14:12 21:49
Venus 06:18 13:38 20:58
Moon 05:17 12:06 19:03
Mars 08:46 16:23 00:00
Jupiter 02:29 07:47 13:06
Saturn 01:44 06:43 11:43
All times shown in EDT.

Warning

Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.

Source

The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE430 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.

Related news

07 Jul 1960  –  Saturn at opposition
19 Jul 1961  –  Saturn at opposition
31 Jul 1962  –  Saturn at opposition
13 Aug 1963  –  Saturn at opposition

Image credit

© NASA/Cassini

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41.14°N
73.26°W
EDT

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