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I've read several articles on Saturn's seasons and the reasons why we know about them thanks to Voyager 1 and Cassini. Those observations, to my limited understanding, seem to be based mainly on temperature changes, changes in the tilt of Saturn, moving shadows from the rings, and the rings themselves.

I wondered, if the atmosphere on Titan wasn't so hazy and didn't obscure Saturn from the night sky, what would Saturn's seasons look like? What would we see from the surface over the course of Saturn's 29 years rotation?

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  • $\begingroup$ Titan is inclined at less than 1/2 a degree to the rings. $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Dec 27, 2023 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ @James K Right so Titan wouldn't see the rings change at all, if I understand things right. But what about the rest? Shadows and so on? $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2023 at 15:39

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Titan orbits in the plane of the rings, so they are only visible edgewise, and they would be very thin. However the rings cast a significant shadow on Saturn's clouds. This shadow would change in size and position, from South to North and back over Saturn's 29 year period.

enter image description here

Here is a simulation from Stellarium, at "full Saturn" and in early January 2024. At this time the shadow is quite narrow and just south of the equator, It is moving North. The ring shadow is not readily visible from Earth, as we always view Saturn backlit by the sun, and the shadow is mostly hidden by the rings. From Titan the shadow would be very obvious.

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  • $\begingroup$ So from Titan we would see the shadow move as Saturn rotates and orbits. I'll check out Stellarium, to see the shadows move (if that's possible in that program). I might re-submit this question with a moon that's above the rings... or edit my question instead so it's not a duplicate $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2023 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for mentioning Stellarium. It's wonderful for visualisation purposes! $\endgroup$ Dec 27, 2023 at 17:55

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