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November 1995 Sun Crossing is Ununsual

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The highly inclined view of the dark side of Saturn's rings that we'll get in November 1995 will be very unusual. The following data gives an idea of just how exceptional that view will be.

The following is a list of dates from 1862 to 2127 when the dark side of Saturn's rings are in view from Earth at an angle of inclination exceeding 2.5 degrees.

Although in 1966 the dark side of the rings was more inclined than during 1995, Saturn was low in the morning sky from mid-northern latitudes. Likewise in 2068, when the inclination of the dark side of the rings slightly exceeds this year's value, Saturn will be quite low in the evening sky.

From the table, we see that the last time Saturn was high in a dark sky from mid-northern latitudes with the dark side of its rings more inclined than they will be this year was back in 1862. The next time observers at mid-northern latitudes will see the darkside so highly inclined with Saturn again high in a dark sky won't occur again until the year 2097.


Civil date in N America  Max.Incl./Date/Elong./Max. alt. in dark sky, lat 40N

1862 May 16-Jun 09 eve   +2.79   May 16  110 E   52 deg, end of astr. twi.
1936 Dec 28-Dec 29 eve   -2.54   Dec 28   70 E   38 deg, end of astr. twi.
1966 May 31-Jun 15 mor   +2.83   Jun 15   85 W   21 deg, start of astr twi
1995 Nov 19-Dec 07 eve   -2.67   Nov 19  111 E   43 deg, 2-3/4 hrs aft sunset
2068 Jun 28-Jul 03 eve   +2.68   Jun 28   70 E   18 deg, end of astr. twi.
2097 Dec 01-Dec 12 mor   -2.78   Dec 12   80 W   49 deg, start of astr twi
2127 May 20-Jun 13 eve   +2.80   May 20  110 E   50 deg, end of astr. twi.

Compiled from data kindly sent to me by Steve Albers.

Bob Victor
victor@pilot.msu.edu
Abrams Planetarium
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824

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