Thursday, April 05, 2012

Earthlings Will Have a Clear View of Saturn in April

Saturn - Source: NASA


Saturn will gleam at its biggest and brightest for the year during April, remaining near its peak of visibility for most of the night throughout the month.

The bright yellow planet will be opposite the sun in our sky on April 15 ("at opposition"), when it will rise at sunset and be visible all night. The best views through a telescope will be when it is highest in the southern sky in the middle of the night. Saturn will outshine nearby Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo the Maiden. Visit for the latest news and images from the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn.

Saturn's biggest moon, Titan, will be due south of the planet on April 18 and due north on April 10 and 26.

Venus will dominate the western evening sky in April, remaining high above the horizon long after nightfall and setting four hours after the sun. The brilliant planet will glide past the Pleiades star cluster during the first few days of the month. To the unaided eye, the glare of Venus will seem to overwhelm the Pleiades, but binoculars will give a beautiful view of both the planet and the star cluster.

Jupiter will be low in the west after sunset in early April, almost directly below Venus and much less bright. A telescope won't reveal much detail because of the planet's low altitude. Each night Jupiter will appear lower, and by month's end it will disappear into evening twilight.

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