Saturn in 1995−’96

Saturn was in opposition to the Sun in Aquarius on 1995 September 14, and during this memorable apparition – as had been the case in 1966 – there was a triple crossing of the ring plane by Earth, in addition to which the Sun passed through the plane on November 19: this is shown graphically in Figure 7.
The planet’s northern declination (+5.6° at opposition) was relatively favourable for UK observers, and the added attraction of the edgewise rings drew reports from many contributors (Table 1). Graham had the use of the Lick Observatory’s 36-in (91cm) refractor during August 7-14, and Biver the large Cassegrain telescopes of Meudon Observatory for the whole opposition. Gray was able to observe on 57 dates and obtained a good number of Central Meridian Transits (CMT). As in 1994-’95 most observations were visual, but CCD images were made by several observers, with Parker taking his first experimental methane-band images of Saturn (Figure 19). Quarra et al. obtained a superb image on one night at Pic du Midi. Miyazaki took an excellent series of 70 CCD images. Observations covered the period 1995 April 20 (Schmude) to 1996 February 21 (Proctor). The limiting solar conjunctions took place on 1995 March 6 and 1996 March 17. (Continued, with many images…)

The British Astronomical Association supports amateur astronomers around the UK and the rest of the world. Find out more about the BAA or join us.