Ringside Seats for Saturn

Illustration of Saturn at opposition to the Earth
  • english

Saturn reaches opposition -- the closest it comes to Earth -- on Jan. 27, 2006. On this date, golden Saturn rises in the east just as the sun sets in the west. It will be visible all night long.

A planet is in opposition when it is on one side of Earth directly opposite the Sun on the other side. As a result, it appears fully illuminated by the Sun. Opposition brings Saturn a mere 1,215 million kilometers (755 million miles) from Earth.

January through June are the best months to view Saturn this year. In late January, if you wait a few hours after sunset you'll be rewarded with better views through the telescope. Even the smallest telescope will reveal a golden orb surrounded by Saturn's amazing rings. You may even spot one or more of Saturn's moons orbiting the planet.

For more Saturn viewing information, visit the Saturn Observation Campaign viewing page.