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Stargazers to see Saturn this weekend

Saturn's northern hemisphere is currently tipped toward Earth, meaning its rings are "wide open" -- making them extra visible to those peering through a telescope.
By Brooks Hays   |   May 6, 2014 at 12:47 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- This weekend, Saturn, the sixth planet from the sun, will be the closest it will be to Earth this year as it goes into opposition with the sun. Opposition occurs when the sun, Earth and Saturn are directly aligned, with Earth in the middle.

What this all mean is: Saturn will be exceedingly bright and visible in the night sky. Starting Saturday, as the sun sets in the west, Saturn will rise in the east. Just after sunset, Saturn will be visible along the southeastern horizon. It will appear amidst the constellation of Libra, sitting in between and outshining Libra's two brightest stars, Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, the “Northern Claw” and “Southern Claw.”

Saturn, which will emanate a steady yellow light -- and which will not twinkle like a star -- will travel across the sky toward the south and set around dawn. It will be most visible just after midnight.

Saturn's northern hemisphere is currently tipped toward Earth, meaning its rings are "wide open" -- making them extra visible to those peering through a telescope.

For stargazers thwarted by overcast skies this weekend, Saturn will be gracing the night sky for a several more weeks. Later this month, it will appear next to the moon, making it easier to locate. The gas giant, our solar system's second largest planet, can also been seen online, as NASA's Cassini mission continues to capture stunning imagery of the planet.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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