Saturn and its magnificent
can offer even casual astronomers the most memorable of telescopic sights.
Wandering between Leo and Cancer
month, a bright
well placed for
But from our earthbound perspective,
the tilt of Saturn's rings does
change with time.
In 1995 and 1996
the broad rings were edge-on and nearly invisible, gradually opening
to a spectacular
maximum tilt of about 27 degrees by 2003.
This frame from a
series of Saturn images beginning a year later,
in 2004, and ending just last month shows the steady decrease
in apparent tilt as the rings head toward another
edge-on presentation in 2009.
Saturn's south pole is toward the bottom.
Click on the picture to view the sharp, color gif movie.