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How to find the Planet Saturn tonight

Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA


On April 28 2013 the ringed planet Saturn will be at opposition, meaning Saturn is opposite the Sun from Earth. The Sun Earth and Saturn form a straight line or alignment.

What this means is, Saturn will be visible all night in our skies.

Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system to Jupiter (which can be seen low in the West) and is probably one of the most spectacular or beautiful objects visible to people on Earth. Even those beginning in astronomy or with a passing interest can see Saturn with the naked eye, through binoculars, or see its rings through a small telescope – It’s a breathtaking sight.

How to Find Saturn

It’s very easy to find Saturn at the moment and you only need a couple of signposts in the sky to get you there:

Locate the constellation of Ursa Major, also known as the Big Dipper, it’s the constellation that looks like a giant saucepan. Follow the curve of its tail, or handle of the saucepan away from the bowl and draw an imaginary line in a slight curve all the way to the next brightest star. This is Arcturus and it lives in the constellation of Bootes, but don’t worry about that.

Continue the line for a similar distance again until you get to a bright yellowish looking star next to a bright white star, the yellow or ochre coloured object is the planet Saturn.

Check out this wonder of our solar system and if you can, try to view it through a telescope over the weeks to come, it is an amazing sight and one of the sights that gets people hooked on astronomy. I’m sure there will be many fine pictures from those people to come, look out for them on @VirtualAstro or the VirtualAstro Flickr group.

Good luck

Saturn 28 April 2013

Saturn 28 April 2013

If you are interested in buying binoculars or a telescope please check the Guide to Binoculars and the Guide to buying telescopes. Both are excellent guides for beginners with reviews.

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