On Saturday, Saturn will return to the evening sky when it goes into opposition with the sun. During opposition, the sun, Earth and Saturn are lined up in a straight line with the Earth in the middle. As the sun sets in the west this weekend, Saturn will rise in the east. The ring world will then move into the southern sky around midnight and set around dawn.
During the weeks around opposition, this exquisite jewel will be unusually big and bright for backyard stargazers. To locate Saturn, step outside around 10 p.m. and face the southeastern horizon. The ringed planet can be found about 20 degrees above the horizon, outshining every other star in the faint constellation Libra. Because the planet’s rings are “wide open” this spring, they will be a beautiful sight through a telescope. However, the best view of Saturn and its rings this weekend will be after midnight when the ring world is high above the turbulent air near the horizon.