Saturn, with its glorious rings, is a jewel in the night sky, and a great viewing opportunity for Saturn is to come. The night of Sunday, August 1 and the morning of Monday, August 2, will see a sign of planetary opposition—when the Sun and Earth line up in the middle, like a celestial sandwich.
In her daily guide to observing the sky, NASA NASA Early Monday morning as the main viewing time. “Saturn is directly opposite the Sun from Earth on this date. Around the time of opposition, it is visible throughout the night, reaching its highest point around midnight,” the space agency said.
Gas giant Jupiter will take part in this month’s competition as well, with its big date set for August 19. As with Saturn, it will be visible all night long and reach its highest point around midnight.
The annual opposition usually means the planet is brighter than usual, but Minnesota Institute of Astrophysics notes “The difference would be barely noticeable, given how far Jupiter, and especially Saturn, is around its orbit.”
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aIt can help you connect to the position of Saturn, which will rise in the east as night falls. This is the time to split up your speculum for a closer look. Even better, a small telescope can help focus on the planet’s storied rings. With the right gear, you might even discover that its largest moon, Titan, appears to be a near-point of light.
You don’t have to bump the opposition on your nose to enjoy the spectacle. The ringed planet should be plain in the night sky for days on either side of the main event. The same goes for Jupiter. August is the perfect month to discover the planet.
Continued CNET’s 2021 Space Calendar To keep up with the latest space news this year. You can even add it to your Google Calendar.