Saturn Making Close Approach to Earth

Astronomers have revealed that Saturn will make its closest approach to earth on Saturday. It is just 8.9 astronomical units away and will accompany Jupiter and Mars. The researchers said Mercury will become the fourth planet to shine bright in the sky towards the end of this month.

During opposition on May 10, Saturn will go into a location which will have it at its closest possible distance to the earth. The event is known to occur almost on annual basis. The speed at which earth orbits the sun is much higher than the speed of Saturn. Which is why, earth laps Saturn's orbit about every 12 and a half months.

Sky gazers can see Saturn in the constellation of Libra, between its two brightest stars- Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali.

After sunset, it will become easy to spot the Saturn in the sky because it rings can be easily identified in the eastern sky. A bright, yellow light will be emanated by Saturn that will shine with a steady light. It will not twinkle like a star and using a telescope, you can see unique features of Saturn's rings and of its largest moon, called Titan.

May 5, 13, 21 and 29 are the days when Titan will be at farthest distance from the rings, which will make it easy to detect in the sky. Its appearance will resemble an orange star at a distance about four ring diameters away from the edge of Saturn's rings.

May 13, May 14, June 9, June 10, and July 7 are the days when Saturn will appear beside the earth's moon. These days will make it extremely easy for people to locate Saturn's position.

Since July 2004, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn. The spacecraft has been helping researchers on earth to get better insight into the environment of Saturn and its moons.


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