Saturn’s Ring Plane Crossing

Today is “Saturn’s Ring Plane Crossing” day – the day when our Earth crosses through the plane of Saturn’s Rings. Thus, if you are standing on Earth (I believe we all do except for the few astronauts floating in ISS, but that won’t make any different though), we will see the rings edge-on; and because the rings are so thin, they basically disappeared from view.

Saturn-Edge-on

Edge-On View of Saturn’s Rings

Previously, Saturn’s south pole is tilted towards us. After today, after we crosses the ring plane, the north pole will be increasing visible, and its south pole will be hidden from us in the coming years until the next plane crossing in 15 years’ time.

Unfortunately, Saturn now is lying low in the western horizon after sunset in Leo. The thicker atmosphere, and thus more turbulence, which the light has to go through prevents clear, sharp image of Saturn.

But you still can give it a try and see if you can spot its “no rings”.

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~ by thChieh on September 4, 2009.

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