Saturn during the 2007/2008 apparition

This report provides an analysis of the Saturn observations made by members of the BAA Saturn Section during the 2007/2008 apparition.

The major event of this apparition was the appearance of two light spots in the southern hemisphere. Both lay on the northern component of the South Temperate Belt at an approximate latitude of 41°S (planetographic) and extended into the South Tropical Zone. The derived longitudinal drifts over 30 days with respect to System 3 are 11.3° and 10.4°. The equivalent rotation periods are 10h 39m 40.2s and 10h 39m 38.8s respectively.

A light spot was also detected in the zone between the components of the South Equatorial Belt (SEB). The derived drift over 30 days with respect to System 3 is 212.3° (equivalent to 10h 33m 50.4s). Although it is not completely certain, this spot could have been identical to one observed at a similar latitude during the 2006/2007 apparition.

The North Equatorial Belt (NEB) had a bluish colour whereas the SEB had a warmer colour.

Very high resolution observations made by Damian Peach during 2007 December from Barbados revealed a very narrow light strip which extended longitudinally across the planet’s disk within the shadow of the rings on the globe (SH R on G). This light strip was due to sunlight passing through Cassini’s Division and illuminating the planet. The detection of this feature may be a first for an amateur observer.

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