IN AUGUST 2009, an interesting combination occurs in the sky. The Saturnine Equinox, an event when the Sun shines on Saturn's equator and illuminates it from a different angle.
An Equinox is the movement of planets around its star, and its subsequent alignment with the star such that they are exactly face to face with each other. In a broader sense, it is the date when a Star is vertically above the Equator of its planet.
In our solar system, at an equinox, the Sun is at one of two opposite points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator and ecliptic intersect. These points of intersection are called equinoctial points. During this time, the days and nights in the planet are of equal duration. With respect to the Earth, an equinox occurs twice a year, occurring around March 20/21 and September 22/23 each year.
Saturn's spin axis is tilted almost 27 degrees relative to its orbital plane. Its orbital period, one Saturn year, is almost 30 Earth years long. This means Saturn's equinox, when the Sun is directly over its equator happens once every 15 years. The next equinox will take place on August 11, 2009.
During Saturn's 2009 equinox, Saturn's rings will be viewed edge-on from Earth. They will barely be visible to telescopes stationed on our planet. They will completely disappear! When you look at Saturn through any telescope on earth, you can view the Saturn's day side and the sunlit part of its rings". The rings gradually start getting thicker after the equinox.
On August 11, 2009, Saturn and the Sun will be facing each other and looking into each other eye-to-eye. The Sun and Saturn's unstoppable war will reach a new landmark.
The curly haired Sun with majestic looks, and his brightness reduced in intensity, would be standing insecurely. The steady and courageous look would not be present. He will be standing in his Vyayasthana, or the house of loss, depressed and not knowing what to do.
Saturn on the other hand will be standing tall, his chest filled with pride in Leo, the house of the Sun. Saturn would have conquered the fort of his father who is standing in the Vyayasthana. Saturn will be viewing his own house Aquarius, which he owns.
On this day of Krishna Panchami, the planetary positions are as given below: