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The Urban Astronomer

Saturn at Opposition 2013

27 Apr 2013, 22:05 UTC
Saturn at Opposition 2013
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Typical Telescope View of SaturnSaturn reaches a special moment in the sky for us Earth-bound viewers, a time when conditions are most favorable for viewing the 2nd largest planet in the Solar System in all its glory. Opposition is the time when the planet is directly opposite the Sun, from our Earthly point of view. That means a few things: (a) it is at its closest to Earth, and therefore brightest for the year, (b) it is visible all night, rising just after sunset and setting just before sunrise, and (c) it is illuminated straight overhead from the Sun, much in the way we view a full moon.For the city dweller, Saturn is an easy object to find, outshining most of the stars in the sky except nearby Arcturus, and its rival planet Jupiter (which is slowly fading into the west earlier each night). Saturn glows a yellow-white hue, in contrast to another nearby bright star, Spica. To find Saturn, it rises right after sunset this evening and for the foreseeable future, and glides from the south-east to the southern sky, and then across to the south-west after midnight.If you have a telescope, now is the time to put it ...

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