Summer of Saturn

Last weekend, on Saturday, May 10, Earth made its closest approach to Saturn for the year—the point at which Saturn is said to be at opposition. As Earth continues in its orbit, we leave slower Saturn behind. For skywatchers, that means the golden planet rises earlier and earlier, even before the sun sets. Thus, Saturn will be above the horizon in the eastern sky as soon as it gets dark.

You should have no trouble finding it, and you will recognize it from its steady golden glow. If you need some markers, look for the bright star Spica and the red planet Mars. These two bright objects are close together in the southeast. Look below and to the left of the pair, and you’ll find Saturn. Saturn will be easy to find in the sky throughout the spring and summer. On summer evenings, it will be well above the horizon once it is dark.

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