Saturn In The July Night Sky

28 July 2013

Two planets appear in the July evening sky all month long: Venus and Saturn. Venus beams in the west at dusk, and sets roughly one and one-half hours after sunset all month long at mid-northern latitudes. Saturn shines moderately high in the south to southwest at nightfall and stays out all evening long. 

Saturn reached opposition in late April, and now it slowly heads towards its conjunction with the Sun on November 6. Look for it in the southwest as evening twilight fades, to the upper left of Spica and farther lower left of Arcturus. A small telescope will reveal Saturn's system of rings which span 40 arcseconds, surrounding a disk about 17 arcseconds in diameter. The rings are tilted 18° to our line of sight, the widest open they have been since 2006.

The planet's ring system is unique, and quite unlike the obscure rings of Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. Six major rings all lying in the equatorial plane of Saturn have been identified, of which three, in addition to the Cassini division and a subtler demarcation called the Encke division, can be seen from the Earth with a good telescope.

Saturn's rings are made up of many small particles, all moving round the planet in the manner of tiny moons. There is no mystery about their composition; they are made primarily of water ice.

Merlion Wayfarer spotted a very bright pale yellow dot in the sky. 
At 15x zoom, a white ring can be seen around it...

More photos are available on Merlion Wayfarer Goes Green's Picasa at :
Natural Phenomena