Saturn is stationary in the sky tonight and will soon resume prograde motion. What does this mean? Basically, for the past four months, Saturn’s motion has been retrograde and the planet has actually been moving backwards (towards the west) across the sky.
Back in the middle of March, when the planet began its retrograde motion, it was in the constellation of Scorpius, but it then returned to Libra about two months later. In another two and a half months, around the middle of October, having resumed forward motion, it will leave Libra once again and cross back into Scorpius.
The planet is still easily visible for most observers across the world; those in Australia can see it very high over the western horizon at 9 p.m. Keep your eye on the planet over the coming weeks and watch as it slowly traverses across the sky.
Images courtesy of Mobile Observatory.
06:00 UT – Saturn is stationary prior to resuming prograde motion. (Magnitude 0.4, diameter 17.2”. Naked eye, Libra, evening sky. See images above.)
14:55 UT – The waning gibbous Moon passes Neptune. (Neptune: magnitude 7.8, diameter 2.3”. Aquarius, pre-dawn sky.)
Mercury fades to magnitude -1.0. (94% illuminated, diameter 5.1”. Leo, not visible.)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.
All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.
2015: An Astronomical Year
|2016: An Astronomical Year||2016: The Night Sky Sights||The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019)||The Amateur Astronomer’s Notebook (Pocket Edition)|
(Kindle & Paperback)
|(Kindle & Paperback)||(Kindle & Paperback)||(Kindle & Paperback)||
|Amazon – US||Amazon – US||Amazon – US||Amazon – US|
|Amazon – UK||Amazon – UK||Amazon – UK|
Details of all available books across the world can be found here or by visiting the author’s page on Amazon. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at astronomywriter “at” gmail.com