Saturn’s Teasing Tilt

by stephen saber

it’s a pleasant fiction to imagine saturn’s beautiful rings coyly and seductively tilting toward and away from us, slightly by the month and dramatically over a decade. but earth is actually doing the unsung grunt work, carefully pacing itself to fall slightly farther behind saturn in its orbit over the course of each revolution. this allows us the amazing perspective of cycling ring aspects. sorry to dampen anyones fantasy. just something to contemplate at the eyepiece, and while watching the linked vidclip below.

in motion: saturn’s northern ring crossing (jan 2009-sep 2010) at

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[saturn(ish)/jan 2017 courtesy of mobile observatory]