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Larry A. Stevens | profile | all galleries >> ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY >> PLANETS >> SATURN tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

SATURN

Saturn is everybody's favorite because of the rings, thought to be a relatively recent feature of a moon that was ripped apart. There is a wealth of detail in the rings visible in larger telescopes. Features on the surface of the cloud tops are similar to that of Jupiter but with far less activity. On occasion white spots appear and then disappear. The shadows on the rings from the ball of the planet are visible before and after opposition.

Because of the inclination of the planet, within the 29.5 year orbit as an observer from the Earth we get to see both the north side of the rings, and the south side, split in half during this period. When the plane of the Earth's orbit and Saturn's orbit align, the rings nearly disappear for a few days as they are in perfect alignment to our viewpoint,
Saturn 20201108 @ 0006 UT with JPL Chart
Saturn 20201108 @ 0006 UT with JPL Chart
Saturn 20201103 @ 0042 UT with JPL Chart
Saturn 20201103 @ 0042 UT with JPL Chart
Saturn 20201103 @ 0042 UT
Saturn 20201103 @ 0042 UT
Saturn - 20200828 @ 0332 UT
Saturn - 20200828 @ 0332 UT