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Best view of Saturn's rings in 6 years

by KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill

Bio | Email | Follow: @kgwrodhill

kgw.com

Posted on April 26, 2013 at 7:31 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 4:48 AM

The best time to see the planet Saturn this entire year will be tonight through the end of April.  Clear skies this evening may offer the best view we get, so please look up and take advantage.  If you have a telescope you might get treated to a view of Saturn's rings.  The icon of the planet have opened out to 18 degrees from the line of sight, which means viewing through strong binoculars and small telescopes is the best we will see over the next 6 years! 

As the sun sets in the western sky, look for Saturn to rise in the east.  During the next few days, Earth will move between the sun and Saturn, bringing the ringed planet to its closest position to Earth and hence our best view of the year.  To find Saturn in the night sky, trace a line down the arc of the Dipper's handle to "Arc to Arcturus," the brightest star in the constellation of Bootes the Herdsman.  From there, we "drive the spike down to Spica," the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo the Maiden. For a further star guide and viewing location, download a free star map:  skymaps.com/downloads.html

Remember look to the east as the sun sets.  Saturn will become fainter and more difficult to see in the coming months.

KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill, follow me @

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Saturn information courtesy of NASA Science News & Jim Todd, OMSI Director of Space Science Education

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