Saturn in Opposition

Posted by BC on February 24th, 2008

Saturn Prior to Cassini Probe's ArrivalI received a call a couple of days ago from a woman who wanted to know if we were going to have a special viewing of Saturn on Feb. 24. What the woman heard was that Saturn is in opposition on Feb. 24, making it the closest to Earth at 1.24 billion kilometres away. It is also the brightest we will see it this year. During opposition, Saturn rises at sunset and sets as sunrise. The planetary disc will appear 20 arc seconds in diameter.

A telescope will pull in details of the planet and its rings. Viewed through binoculars, Saturn “…looks like it has ears,” as an elementary school girl told me. And although people still accuse me of afixing a photograph to the tube, I tell them that it’s the real thing.

More information and a map can be found on the Astronomy Magazine web page.

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