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Saturn at solar conjunction

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Outer Planets feed

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The sky at

Saturn will pass very 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 1°37' 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 10.71 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 15.5 arcsec in diameter.

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 2024 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 22h46m30s -09°31' Aquarius 15.5"
Sun 22h44m -08°01' Aquarius 32'17"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

The sky on 28 February 2024
Sunrise
06:52
Sunset
17:51
Twilight ends
19:33
Twilight begins
05:10

19-day old moon
Waning Gibbous

83%

19 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 07:05 12:26 17:46
Venus 06:02 10:47 15:32
Moon 22:38 02:58 08:24
Mars 05:57 10:35 15:14
Jupiter 09:04 16:12 23:20
Saturn 07:03 12:24 17:45
All times shown in PST.

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 DE405 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

28 Feb 2024  –  Saturn at solar conjunction
07 Sep 2024  –  Saturn at opposition
12 Mar 2025  –  Saturn at solar conjunction
23 Mar 2025  –  Saturn ring plane crossing

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