Saturn and the moon shine bright into next week
Saturn will be in opposition early Sunday morning, and that means this weekend will be the best time to view the ringed planet.
Opposition happens when the Earth lies directly between the sun and the outer planet.
The sun’s light fully illuminates the planet, and we get a great show in the night sky. This happens every year, roughly every 378 days, due to Saturn’s very slow orbit around the sun.
It takes 29.4 Earth years for it to make one complete orbit.
Saturn will shine brightly in the evening sky now through February 2024. Currently, it’s at 0.4 magnitude and looks like a large, bright star naked eye.
With binoculars, you’ll see the rings as an oval disc and with at least a small telescope, you’ll be able to decipher the rings even better.
Head outside right after sunset and see if you can see it rise above the horizon. It will be up all night and move from the SE sky over to the west by dawn.
Next week (Aug. 29-30), Saturn will pair up nicely with the Full Blue Supermoon!
This will be the second full month in the month, so it’s called a Blue Moon.
It doesn’t really turn blue, but it’s just the name.
This full moon is also considered a “super moon” because it will be the closest full moon of the year at 222,043 miles.
Many people refer to the perigee moon as a Super Moon because it’s technically closer and may appear a little larger and brighter.
That may be hard to tell, but the moon always appears larger when it’s closer to the horizon, either rising or setting.
So be sure to check it out nice and early in the evening.