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Planet Oppositions 2005 to 2020

Listed below is information about major planet oppositions in the next 15 years (2005 to 2020). The info will be useful for both visual observing and for planetary imagers who can't wait for an opportunity to image the big 3 when they're high in the Southern sky!

The information listed includes:

  • Opposition Date - the date of opposition when the Sun, the Earth and the Planet are in a straight line
  • Maximum Altitude - how high in the sky the planet will reach at midnight on opposition date
  • Angular Size - how big the planet will appear, measured in arcseconds
  • Apparent Magnitude - how bright the planet will appear

The Maximum Altitude, listed in degrees, is from Sydney, Australia latitude 33deg South. If you live further South, subtract 1 degree in elevation for each degree further south. If you live further North, add 1 degree in elevation.

Examples: If you live in Hobart, Tasmania (at 42deg S), subtract 9 degrees from the altitudes listed for the maximum altitude at your location. If you live in Brisbane, Queesland (at 27deg S), add 6 degrees to the altitudes listed for the maximum altitude at your location.

 

Planet

Mars

Jupiter

Saturn

Year

Opp Date

Max Alt
(deg)

Dia
(")

Mag

Opp Date

Max Alt
(deg)

Dia
(")

Mag

Opp Date

Max Alt
(deg)

Dia
(")

Mag

2005

07-Nov

40

 20

-2.32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2006

 

 

 

 

04-May

70

45

-2.50

27-Jan

37

20

-0.23

2007

24-Dec

29

16

-1.63

05-Jun

78

46

-2.59

10-Feb

40

20

-0.04

2008

 

 

 

 

09-Jul

78

47

-2.73

24-Feb

44

20

0.20

2009

 

 

 

 

14-Aug

71

49

-2.86

08-Mar

49

20

0.49

2010

29-Jan

34

14

-1.28

21-Sep

58

50

-2.93

22-Mar

54

20

0.53

2011

 

 

 

 

29-Oct

44

50

-2.92

03-Apr

59

19

0.35

2012

03-Mar

45

14

-1.22

03-Dec

35

48

-2.83

15-Apr

63

19

0.22

2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28-Apr

68

19

0.13

2014

08-Apr

61

15

-1.47

05-Jan

33

47

-2.70

10-May

71

19

0.06

2015

 

 

 

 

06-Feb

39

45

-2.57

23-May

74

19

0.02

2016

22-May

78

18

-2.06

08-Mar

50

44

-2.49

03-Jun

77

18

0.00

2017

 

 

 

 

07-Apr

62

44

-2.46

15-Jun

78

18

0.00

2018

27-Jul

81

24

-2.78

09-May

72

45

-2.51

27-Jun

78

18

0.02

2019

 

 

 

 

10-Jun

78

46

-2.61

09-Jul

78

18

0.05

2020

13-Oct

50

22

-2.62

14-Jul

78

48

-2.75

20-Jul

76

18

0.10

Summary:

Mars is getting smaller each opposition, with 2010 being the worst year with a low altitude and a small angular size. It starts improving from 2014, with 2018 being the best Mars opposition in the next 15 years as it will be high in the sky and a massive 24" in diameter.

Jupiter is well placed for us in the next few years with 2007 being the best as it will be high in the sky and 47" in diameter. It will be at its largest, a whopping 50" in 2010, but it will be lower in the sky. It gets worse after that, 2014 is when it will be at its lowest (only 33 deg).

Saturn is not good for us in 2006 - it will be at its worst for the next 15 years in terms of altitude. It gets better from then on though, peaking in 2017 at 78 deg altitude while still being a respectable 18" in size.

 Legend:

   Best Altitude
   Biggest Size
   Brightest
   Overall Best Year
   Worst Altitude
   Smallest Size
   Dimmest
   Overall Worst Year

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