Saturn puts on a spectacular space show, shining ‘at its brightest and greatest.’
This week, SATURN was in opposition, which meant the Ringed Giant was front and center in the heavens. This website provided comprehensive information about this astronomical phenomena.
Saturn is only in opposition once a year, so if you missed it this time, you’ll have to wait another year. The Ringed Giant is currently aligned with the Sun and Earth, with our planet securely in the middle, as it was earlier this week. Throughout the night, the opposition afforded clear views of the planet — if you knew where to look.
Saturn was at its “brightest and best” on the nights of Sunday and Monday, according to Tom Kerss, astronomer and host of the Star Signs: Go Stargazing! podcast.
“The so-called opposition surge is caused by the reflection of sunlight from Saturn’s ice rings practically directly back to us on Earth, where they briefly present and augmented brightness generally outshining the orb of Saturn itself,” he said.
“Even with a modest telescope, this can now be seen plainly.
“And if you’re fortunate enough to have a larger telescope, your view will be spectacular.”
The Earth occasionally finds itself directly between the Sun and another planet as it travels around the solar system.
Saturn was at opposition this week because it is exactly across from us and the Sun from our vantage point on Earth.
According to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, oppositions are some of the greatest periods to see a planet.
Because of the alignment of celestial bodies, the planets appear larger and brighter than usual, making them an ideal target for honing your stargazing abilities.
Saturn’s brightness peaked early on Sunday, August 1, but it will stay visible for the next few days.
Saturn will still be visible low in the sky from the Northern Hemisphere.
The planet will look much higher above the horizon south of the equator.
“And from equatorial latitudes, Saturn is practically precisely overhead,” Mr Kerss remarked. “Indeed, quite favorable.”
If you don’t have a telescope, a good pair of binoculars should suffice, albeit you won’t be able to see Saturn in its entirety.
Saturn will appear around sunset if you keep your eyes peeled low on the southeast horizon.
The Ringed Giant will remain in the southern skies as the night unfolds, setting. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”