Welcome to the Saturn Observation Campaign. This program gives sky enthusiasts of all abilities the opportunity to share the splendor of Saturn with their local community. Saturn and its majestic rings make an annual trek through the night sky, allowing ground-based observers to enjoy stunning telescopic views of the planet.
January through June 2006 are the best months to view Saturn this year. In June, Saturn will dip lower in the sky, and by early August it is lost in the glare of the setting sun. The Earth and Sun passed through Saturn's ring plane in 1995 and 1996, providing a nearly edge-on view of the rings. The ring tilt has increased (opened wider) year by year to a maximum tilt of 27 degrees in early 2003. The tilt of the rings has been decreasing since 2003, but still offer a splendid view this year. The ring tilt decreases (closes slightly) each year until 2009, when we'll again see an edge-on, or nearly invisible view of the rings. This years' ring tilt angle, as shown in the image to the left, ranges from 20 down to 12 degrees in December 2006. This image of Saturn, taken January 1, 2006 shows the bright zones and dark belts of Saturn's atmosphere. The dark Cassini division bisects the outer A-ring and middle B-ring. The subtle inner C-ring is visible where it appears in front and center of the planet itself.
Last Updated: 24 February 2011