T his month, Saturn reaches opposition — the point in its orbit when the planet lies directly opposite the Sun in our sky. At this time, Saturn shines more brilliantly to our eyes than at any other point this year. Through a telescope, its rings also “surge” in brightness for a couple of days around opposition, which occurs May 10 at 18h UT (see p. 62). The rings’ temporary brightening is one of the most visually fascinating occurrences around Saturn. Unless you observe this planet regularly, though, you can easily overlook it.
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