Get Hooked on the Ringed Planet

Saturn on Oct. 31, 2006
Expert planetary imager Christopher Go took this beautiful shot last Halloween.
It's nearly full Moon, so you might need an excuse to go outside and brave the frigid weather. Here's a great one: treat yourself to the majesty of Saturn. Right now the planetary gem is shining in Leo at magnitude 0.0, and it is currently the brightest it will be for many years to come. Saturn rises in twilight and is well up in the east for telescopic viewing by 10 p.m. It reaches opposition (opposite the Sun in the sky and therefore visible all night) on February 10th.

On February 2nd, the Moon will frame the ringed world nicely, but you might want to spend some time before that happens searching for five of the planet's telescopic moons. To help you in your cause, be sure to use our Saturn Moon finder. You'll find it and many more astronomical JavaScript tools on our Interactive Observing Tools index page.