© NASA/Cassini

Saturn ends retrograde motion

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Outer Planets feed

Objects: Saturn
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Saturn will reach the end of its retrograde motion, ending its westward movement through the constellations and returning to more usual eastward motion instead. This reversal of direction is a phenomenon that all the solar system's outer planets periodically undergo, a few months after they pass opposition.

The retrograde motion is caused by the Earth's own motion around the Sun. As the Earth circles the Sun, our perspective changes, and this causes the apparent positions of objects to move from side-to-side in the sky with a one-year period. This nodding motion is super-imposed on the planet's long-term eastward motion through the constellations.

The diagram below illustrates this. The grey dashed arrow shows the Earth's sight-line to the planet, and the diagram on the right shows the planet's apparently movement across the sky as seen from the Earth:


The retrograde motion of a planet in the outer solar system. Not drawn to scale.

2186 apparition of Saturn

07 Jan 2186 – Saturn enters retrograde motion
25 Feb 2186 – Saturn ring plane crossing
15 Mar 2186 – Saturn at opposition
12 Apr 2186 – Equinox on Saturn
23 May 2186 – Saturn ends retrograde motion

Observing Saturn

Saturn leaves retrograde motion as its 2186 apparition comes to an end, although it will remain visible for some weeks in the dusk sky.

Its celestial coordinates as it leaves retrograde motion will be:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Saturn 11h23m40s 6°23'N Leo 0.7 18.3"

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0.

From Fairfield , it will become visible around 19:55 (EST), 53° above your southern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. It will then sink towards the horizon, setting at 01:34.

Begin typing the name of a town near to you, and then select the town from the list of options which appear below.

Over the following weeks, Saturn will reach its highest point in the sky four minutes earlier each night, gradually disappearing into evening twilight.

The sky on 27 January 2022
Sunrise
07:06
Sunset
17:02
Twilight ends
18:38
Twilight begins
05:31

25-day old moon
Waning Crescent

26%

25 days old

Planets
Rise Culm. Set
Mercury 06:21 11:22 16:23
Venus 05:05 10:10 15:14
Moon 02:30 07:27 12:16
Mars 05:01 09:34 14:07
Jupiter 08:30 13:57 19:23
Saturn 07:34 12:34 17:35
All times shown in EST.

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

12 Apr 2186  –  Equinox on Saturn
06 Aug 2186  –  Saturn ring plane crossing
28 Mar 2187  –  Saturn at opposition
09 Apr 2188  –  Saturn at opposition

Image credit

© NASA/Cassini

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41.14°N
73.26°W
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