Saturn in 2024

The path of Saturn against the background stars in 2024

The upper chart shows the path of Saturn across the background stars over the course of the year. Stars to magnitude +8.5 are shown. The white circles represent the planet on the first day of the month and are scaled according to apparent magnitude. The faint paths before the first circle and after the last circle represent the planet's positions in December of last year and January of next. In general, the planet moves from right to left except when it's in retrograde and proceding in the opposite direction.

The lower chart shows how the appearance of Saturn changes over the year. Below each image is listed the date, the apparent magnitude, the apparent diameter of the disk (in arc-seconds), the geocentric distance (in au) and the opening angle of the rings. Note that the tilt of Saturn's rings varies subtly throughout the year.

The ringed planet continues to loop through Aquarius, having entered the constellation last February. The rings continue to close on their way to a ring plane crossing next year, with a minimum ring tilt of just under 2° in late June. Saturn is visible in the evening at the outset of 2024 but begins to disappear in the twilight in February ahead of conjunction at the end of the month. It reappears in the sky ahead of the Sun, finally rising before midnight in May (southern hemisphere) or in June (northern temperate latitudes). Opposition takes place in September with Saturn primarily an evening sky object afterwards. A series of lunar occultations takes place this year, beginning in March and continuing through the end of the year.

All times and dates are in UT. Positions are geocentric apparent places, referred to the true equator and equinox of date.

1maximum declination south: −11.96°
maximum ring opening: 9.18°
142.1° north of the Moon
111.8° north of the Moon
28planetary conjunction: 0.2° south of Mercury
91.5° north of the Moon
171.3° south of the fourth-magnitude star λ Aqr
21planetary conjunction: 0.3° north of Venus
6lunar occultation: 1.2° north of the Moon (visible from Antarctica)
10planetary conjunction: 0.4° north of Mars
22.3° north of the fourth-magnitude star ψ¹ Aqr
3lunar occultation: 0.8° north of the Moon (visible from Antarctica)
80.8° south of the fourth-magnitude star φ Aqr
31lunar occultation: 0.4° north of the Moon (visible from Chile, Argentina and Uruguay)
9west quadrature
24maximum declination north: −6.13°
25minimum ring opening: 1.94°
27lunar occultation: 0.1° south of the Moon (visible from eastern Australia, northern New Zealand, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and other nearby islands)
29stationary in ecliptic longitude: direct → retrograde
30stationary in right ascension: direct → retrograde
24lunar occultation: 0.4° south of the Moon (visible from China, eastern Mongolia, North and South Korea, Japan and southeastern Russia)
181.1° south of the fourth-magnitude star φ Aqr
21lunar occultation: 0.5° south of the Moon (visible from Central America, northern South America, northwestern Africa and western Europe)
311.8° north of the fourth-magnitude star ψ¹ Aqr
8opposition: magnitude +0.7, apparent diameter 19.25 arc-seconds, ring opening 3.74°
17lunar occultation: 0.3° south of the Moon (visible from northeastern Australia, Melanesia, Hawaii and western North America)
14lunar occultation: 0.1° south of the Moon (visible from southern Africa, Madagascar, southern Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates and southern Asia)
11lunar occultation: 0.1° south of the Moon (visible from Central America and northwestern South America)
13local maximum ring opening: 5.23°
15stationary in ecliptic longitude: retrograde → direct
16stationary in right ascension: retrograde → direct
4east quadrature
8lunar occultation: 0.3° south of the Moon (visible from Japan)