Saturn in 1997-’98

Saturn during 1997-’98 exhibited a much lower degree of white spot activity in the Equatorial Zone, none of the features being long-lived. There was evidence of the continuation of the relatively slow equatorial current of 1994-’96, but the focus of spot activity upon the planet seems to have migrated southward to the latitudes of the South Equatorial Belt and the South Tropical Zone: periods were derived for a few SEB(S) dark spots and some small white oval spots in the STropZ. A distinct difference in colour was apparent between the warm-tinted S. hemisphere and the bluish-grey, retreating, N. hemisphere. Despite the rings’ opening further towards the Earth and Sun, Tethys could still be recorded in transit, grazing the N. limb of the planet. Numerous fine divisions were observed upon the south face of the gradually opening rings.

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