Saturn is brightest and most visible this month in Ontario and beyond

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Published August 17, 2023 at 8:13 am

saturn
Image by NASA

Stargazers will want to look to the skies later this month.

Saturn is at opposition to the sun and is it brightest in 2023 from Aug. 18 to Sept. 11, according to Space.org.

It is also closest to the earth at this time offering the best chance to see the ringed planet, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

The planet reaches opposition on Aug. 26 to 27 — this is Saturn’s very closest point to Earth of the entire year.

“On this day, Earth passes right between the Sun and Saturn,” the Farmer’s Almanac notes. “With the Ringed Planet opposite the Sun, it’s face is fully illuminated.”

To best see the planet, the Farmer’s Almanac suggests looking toward the south-southeast and about a third of the way up the sky. Saturn is the only bright star in that location.

Or during the in the evening of Aug. 30, the night of the second supermoon this month, you will see Saturn near the moon. It will be bright but not twinkling like stars.

While the planet will be visible to the naked eye — it will look like a yellowish-white “star,” according to Space.org. You will need a telescope to see the famous rings.

But even with a small backyard telescope stargazers should be able to see the thinner, darker outer ring on a clear night.

Saturn is much larger than the earth — at 116,464 km or about nine earths, according to the Canadian Space Agency. It has a whopping 146 moons but it’s chilly from -189 and -139 degrees Celsius.

The sixth planet from the sun, Saturn second largest in our solar system.

The rings are not solid — each one is made up of 90 per cent to 95 per cent water ice. The particles range in size from a speck to a 10-metre-wide snowball.

For more about Saturn, see the Canadian Space Agency.

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