The 1995-1996 Saturn Observing Campaign

The Sun and Earth passed through Saturn’s ring plane in 1995 and 1996, providing a unique opportunity to observe Saturn’s faintest rings and smallest satellites. The edge-on viewing geometry also permited direct observations of the main rings’ thickness, and the timing of satellite eclipses and mutual events that can be used to improve ephemerides.

Note: This page contains planning tools and information used primarily in preparation for the events in 1995 and 1996. More up-to-date observing tools are now available elsewhere.


The 1995-6 ephemeris distribution service has been disabled. Contact the PDS Navigation and Ancillary Information Node. for data and software.

Event Predictions

J. E. Arlot and W. Thuillot of the Bureau des Londitudes in Paris predicted the times of events (transits, occultations and eclipses) involving the classical satellites of Saturn.

P. D. Nicholson of Cornell University predicted the times of eclipse disappearances and reappearances for the small inner satellites. Following the May and August 1995 events, P. D. Nicholson revised the predictions of eclipse reappearance times for Prometheus, Pandora, Janus, and Epimetheus. The Prometheus event times changed rather significantly.

Saturn Viewer

This utility enables you to render a diagram showing the appearance of Saturn, its moons and rings at any time during 1995 and 1996. Diagrams are rendered in Postscript format. Here are a few examples. Newer observing tools are now recommended.

Saturn Moon Tracker

This utility enables you to generate diagrams showing the motion of Saturn’s moons during 1995 and 1996. Diagrams are rendered in Postscript format. Newer observing tools are now recommended.

Tucson Workshop

A preparatory workshop for the Saturn ring plane crossing was held in Tucson, May 26 and 27, 1994. The proceedings contain the viewgraphs from every presentation.