Saturn Opposition: A planet is at opposition when it is directly opposite the Sun from our viewpoint on Earth. So on 4th April, 2011 Sun-Earth- Saturn would be opposite to each other from our view on earth. The result is that the object is fully illuminated by the sun and appears disk-like.
We see a great example of an opposition every month. Whenever there is a full moon, the moon is on one side of Earth and the sun is on the opposite side. Importantly during opposition the planet in question would be at its closest approach and thus would appear more big and brighter than usual.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN FROM 4TH APRIL, 2011:
On 4th April, 2011 05:26:00 a.m Indian Standard Time (23h 56 3rd April UTC) Saturn Opposition will occur. Because of this phenomena Saturn will be as brightest, biggest and closest it can get to Earth in this entire Year. Which means that Saturn is at its viewing best for the next few weeks. Importantly Saturn can be spotted in the evening skies for many months to come with naked eye.
DECREASING BRIGHTNESS – AS THE DAYS PASS BY : As Earth is revolving around sun at a faster rate than Saturn and as the days pass by the brightness will decrease gradually. Presently it is at 0.8 Mag and it will be so until 13th May. From 14th May to 12th June the brightness will decrease slightly to 0.9.
SATURN OPPOSITION – PAST/ FUTURE : Saturn oppositions occur every one year and two weeks (378.1 days). Last Year it occurred on 22nd March, 2010. Next Satun Opposition will be on 15 April, 2012.
SATURN FULL NIGHT & MORNING/EVENING OBJECT: Because of Planet Saturn being at opposition one can notice that as sun sets in west Saturn rises in the east and visible all through the night (as it climbs highest in the sky at midnight) whereas by the time it is morning Saturn would set in the western sky when sun is rising in the east.
Spot Saturn with Naked Eye – How To Locate/Timings/Directions: General Public can spot the Planet with naked eye after sunset in the evening skies up to last week of September 2011. As of now for few weeks one has to look in exactly Opposite direction of Sun Set in the evening skies.
Timing/Direction: In the Evening after 7.00 p.m one has to look towards direction between East and South East Direction. Whereas during Midnight facing South One can Spot Saturn close to Zenith above one’s Head. Early morning one can spot Saturn towards direction between West and North West.
How does it look Naked eye - Telescope – opportunity upto September 2011 End: Saturn would appear as star like object for naked eye. However if one can see through telescope one can appreciate its finest features along with magnificent rings. After September 2011 Saturn will disappear from evening skies and will start appearing in early morning skies before Sun Rise for rest of year.
How to spot Saturn using Moon: On 17th April, 2011 one can see Saturn towards Left of Moon after Sunset towards East Direction. Whereas Saturn can be seen towards Right of Moon in Early Morning hours towards West Direction on 18th April, 2011.
ARRANGEMENTS AND REQUESTS BY SOCIETY – Saturn Observation Campaign 2011 :
1. Sky Maps : Further people can visit www.ournewplanets.com for sky map assistance etc.. to observe planet Saturn.
2. Observation Astronomical Telescopes: continuing its efforts society is happy to announce SATURN OBSERVATION CAMPAIGN INDIA 2011 which aims to Create organize series of Sky Observations with Astronomical telescopes of Saturn.
3. Seminars/Workshops Saturn : Awareness Sessions on NASA’s Cassini Huygen’s Mission and Planet Saturn would be conducted for School Students.
If interested in Sky Observation through astronomical Telescopes. Individuals can email at firstname.lastname@example.org with Phone and Complete Address. Society invites schools, Summer Camp Organisers and other organizations to write on their letter head (in case of group participation ) to
Planetary Society, India P.O.Box. No. 1361, Hyderabad – 28, India