On 11th February, 2007 at 00.12 am IST Saturn is at opposition. A planet is at opposition when it is directly opposite the Sun from our viewpoint on Earth. At this point Sun-Earth- Saturn would be in a straight line and opposite to each other.
Saturn which will rise by 6.09 pm on 11th Feb, 07 will be as close as it can get to Earth in the Eastern Sky for next few days. Saturn now would be brighter and biggest for entire year allowing the people to witness it Rings.
In Response my Interview on TV9 Newschannel (dt.10.02.07), Following Questions related to Saturn opposition which were enquired on Telephone at our office.
What is Saturn Opposition?
On Feb 10 (Feb 11th IST at 00.12 a.m.) Saturn is officially at opposition, which means that it is precisely 180 degrees opposite the Sun. This simply stated means that Saturn is directly opposite the Sun as seen from Earth.
1. At opposition to the Sun on the 11th, Saturn rules the night sky after Venus sets and before Jupiter rises. That means Saturn will be visible all night long from the time the Sun sets until the time the Sun rises. For example if one likes to see Jupiter on 11th Feb, 2007 he has to wait upto 2.17 a.m in the morning.
2. The most beautiful planet in the solar system, the one which we're visiting right now with the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft is this week at its closest point to Earth for the entire year. And thus looks bigger and brighter to both the naked eye and through a telescope than it will for all of 2007.
Why Saturn is visible all night?
When Sun sets in the west Saturn will rise in the east and will continue to climb higher and higher as each hour goes by until at midnight your local time it will reach its very highest point and then will slowly descend hour after hour and set in the west as the Sun rises in the east. So Saturn is essentially visible all night long.
When and how to spot Saturn?
Although this week and next I suggest you start looking for it about one hour after sunset when it has risen high up enough off the eastern horizon and cleared all buildings and trees and obstructions.
Look towards the direction between east and north east direction. (Use the map).
How to see rings of Saturn?
A small telescope is needed to appreciate the rings. Even a good pair of binoculars can reveal the rings, although often they simply make Saturn appear to be an oblong or football (American) shaped planet. Early astronomers sometimes described Saturn as having two small companions on either side, and in some cases as "handles" like those on a teacup.
How close is Saturn?
On Saturday earth is 762 million miles away from Saturn that's closer that it can get. This is 190 million miles closer compared to August 2007.
Well 6 months from now on August 21 when it will be at its farthest from Earth for the entire year it will be 952 million miles away.
What is the distance of Saturn from Sun ?
Average Distance from the Sun = 885.9047 million miles or 142, 67, 25,400 km (9.53 au approx.)
Perihelion (closest point from Sun) = 838.519 million miles or 134, 94,67,000 km (9.02 au approx)
Aphelion (farthest) = 934.530 million miles or 1,503,983,000 km (10.05 au approx)
Now although we say Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system because it 's only 75,000 miles wide compared to Jupiter's 88,000 mile width, nevertheless if we count Saturn's rings Saturn is actually twice as wide as Jupiter from one edge of its ring system to the other.
And believe it or not its average density is less than that of water which means that if we could find a cosmic bathtub big enough Saturn would float. However because it is Saturn it would leave a ring around the tub.
So Look at Saturn now because you'll be able to see not only its big inner ring called ring b, but also its narrower outer ring, ring a separated by the space known as Cassini's division, named after the famous Italian astronomer for whom the Cassini to Saturn space craft is also named.
To Know About Saturn Opposition in 2007, 2008, 2009 click here or use search blog on top left side of this site.