Saturn goes into 'opposition' Tuesday afternoon; appears bright at night

Here's How to Spot Saturn's Rings in the Night Sky on July 9

Opposition occurs when Earth is completely lined up between the sun and another planet, forming a straight line.

July 9 will be the best night to catch Saturn because it'll be at its closest approach and therefore its brightest. At opposition, the planet will rise as the sun sets, and will generally rise around that time for the rest of the month. On Tuesday, the ringed planet will shine at its maximum brightness and come less than a million miles from Earth.

While it should be visible with the naked eye you can likely get a glimpse of Saturn's rings and it's largest moon, Titan, with the aid of a telescope. The moon is expected to be in its first-quarter phase, meaning about half of it will be lit by the sun, but the night sky should be plenty dark to see the planet.

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Saturn's opposition technically occurs at noon Central time Tuesday afternoon, however, that night it will still be pretty close to that position, so it will still look pretty bright.

Starting at sunset, Saturn will rise in the southeast and slowly move across the night sky before setting in the southwest direction during the early morning hours on Wednesday. That means planet gazers can see Saturn's rings in any telescope that magnifies to at least 20 power, or sharper, reports. The only difference is that it won't twinkle like the stars.



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