Solar System Phenomena — Saturn in 2023

The path of Saturn against the background stars in 2023

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.

Saturn is an evening sky object at the beginning of the year, setting in early evening and getting ever closer to the horizon as it approaches conjunction in mid-February. Afterwards it reappears in the morning sky, rising earlier every day and eventually before midnight by May (southern hemisphere) or June (northern hemisphere). Opposition occurs in late August and the planet is visible in the evening hours for the rest of the year. The rings close to a minimum tilt of just over 7° in June before widening again; a ring-plane crossing takes place in two years time.

1maximum declination south: −15.32°
maximum ring opening: 13.63°
1.3° north of the fourth-magnitude star γ Capricorni (Nashira)
141.4° north of the third-magnitude star δ Capricorni (Deneb Algedi)
22planetary conjunction: 0.3° south of Venus
233.8° north of the Moon
193.9° north of the Moon
270.8° north of the fourth-magnitude star ι Aquarii
2planetary conjunction: 0.5° north of Mercury
193.6° north of the Moon
163.5° north of the Moon
133.3° north of the Moon
28west quadrature
93.0° north of the Moon
12maximum declination north: −10.44°
13minimum ring opening: 7.30°
17stationary in ecliptic longitude: direct → retrograde
18stationary in right ascension: direct → retrograde
72.7° north of the Moon
32.5° north of the Moon
27opposition: magnitude +0.5, apparent diameter 19.02 arc-seconds, ring opening 9.04°
302.5° north of the Moon
272.7° north of the Moon
242.8° north of the Moon
2local maximum ring opening: 10.51°
4stationary in ecliptic longitude: retrograde → direct
stationary in right ascension: retrograde → direct
202.7° north of the Moon
23east quadrature
172.5° north of the Moon
The tilt of Saturn's rings in 2023


The dates, times and circumstances of all planetary and lunar phenomena were calculated from the JPL DE406 solar system ephemeris using the same rigorous methods that are employed in the compilation of publications such as The Astronomical Almanac.