Home » News & Blogs » A Saturn Yearbook
Bookmark and Share
Illuminated Universe

A Saturn Yearbook

8 Oct 2019, 13:00 UTC
A Saturn Yearbook
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Saturn plays an inspirational role in astronomy. The simple shape of a sphere with rings around it is the quintessential drawing of a planet. The experience of viewing Saturn and its rings through a telescope for the first time is often an awe-inducing revelation. The magnificent ring system has an allure and a grandeur that excites our imagination.
This simple montage of Saturn images from Hubble evokes a bit of that wonder. The series of images shows how Saturn appeared every year from 1996 (lower left) to 2000 (upper right). During that time, the ring plane opens up from a close-to-edge-on view to a tilted view, which displays the rings’ extent. This transition illustrates the slow change of seasons on Saturn.
Similar to Earth, Saturn’s rotational axis is tilted with respect to its orbital plane. Saturn’s axial tilt is 26.7 degrees, while Earth’s is 23.5 degrees. The ring system orbits in Saturn’s equatorial plane, and provides a distinct visual reference. In the series of images, one can see Saturn’s southern hemisphere getting more and more sunlight. That is the progression from spring to summer for the southern hemisphere (and likewise the change from fall to winter for the northern hemisphere). ...

Latest Vodcast

Latest Podcast

Advertise PTTU

NASA Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day