Select an image to view enlargements


Saturn's rings make this planet about the most impressive for non astronomers. If you want a real 'wow' at a public observing evening show them Saturn. As the Earth and Saturn rotate about the Sun the relative positions change such that the rings appear, over a fifteen year cycle, to go from fully open to a tiny edge on sliver of light to fully open again. Anyone looking to see the most detail in the rings will look when they are fully open, anyone trying to discover more of Saturn's moons wants them fully closed. Visually they are most stunning half way between the two, so there's something for everyone.

In 2002 an unusual view of Saturn occured when it was occulted by the Moon, that is, the Moon passed between us and Saturn. As is usual with any astronomical phenomenon everything conspired against it. Occultations were attempted first by cloud and then by a nearby roof, but happily both failed.