When to See Saturn at Its Biggest, Brightest Moment

When to See Saturn at Its Biggest, Brightest Moment. Photo: pixabay
When to See Saturn at Its Biggest, Brightest Moment. Photo: pixabay

On August 27, 2023, Saturn will be closest to Earth and visible all night long.

If you haven’t yet witnessed the beautiful rings of Saturn with your own eyes, now is your chance. Find a friend with a small telescope and a good spot to observe the sixth planet from the Sun.

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That’s because Saturn is about to be in its best and brightest position of 2023. On Sunday, August 27, 2023, the planet will be at its “greatest opposition.”

This is a significant date for planet watchers, not just because Saturn will be well-positioned and shining brightly in the upcoming weeks, but it will also be visible throughout the entire night.

What you need to know to see Saturn:

This position occurs when Earth is directly between Saturn and the Sun. Since Saturn takes 29.4 years to orbit the Sun and Earth only one year, this should happen once every 378 days/54 weeks.

Saturn’s slow progress means it will only have moved 1/29 of the way around the Sun during this time, so it stays more or less in the same region of the night sky for several years.

The geometry of Earth being between the Sun and the planet means that Saturn’s discs will be fully illuminated as seen from Earth. Therefore, Saturn will appear larger and brighter for 378 days.

Saturn’s opposition this year occurs on Sunday, August 27, but in practice, you can get the best views of the “ringed planet” for a few weeks on either side of that date – so take a look right now!

Information sourced from Forbes.

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