Saturn at opposition on Sunday; watch the best and closest views of the ringed planet

Devdiscourse News Desk | California | Updated: 12-08-2022 08:42 IST | Created: 10-08-2022 21:57 IST
Saturn at opposition on Sunday; watch the best and closest views of the ringed planet
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

Saturn, the second-largest planet in our solar system, will reach opposition on Sunday, August 14. During opposition - when the planet is directly opposite to the Sun in the night sky and is at its yearly closest distance to the Earth - you will get to watch the best and closest views of Saturn, its glorious rings and several moons including Titan.

According to NASA, the ringed planet will be visible for much of the night, rising above the southeastern horizon and lingering high in the southern sky. This will occur during Saturn's perigee - its closest approach to Earth - making it even larger and brighter than usual.

"The best thing about opposition this year is that Saturn will be visible all night long. That gives stargazers a good, long chance to find and observe it," said Caleb Fassett, a planetary scientist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Saturn's icy rings will likely brighten perceptibly in the hours around opposition. Fassett recommends a 4-8-inch telescope to fully resolve the rings and provide a good look at the planet itself. A decent telescope may even make it possible for spotters to catch a glimpse of Titan and other moons of the planet.

However, the Full Moon's bright wash of light will challenge stargazers to clearly make out much around it in the night sky. Hopefully, Saturn's position – west of the rising Moon – won't cause it to be directly impacted, according to NASA.

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