Saturn's Brightest And Biggest Appearance This Weekend: How To Watch It

Sky watchers mark your calendars! Saturn, the giant ringed planet, will make its brightest and best appearance of 2023 this weekend. The sixth planet from the Sun will be at its closest to Earth and is most favourably positioned in the sky, making it a delight to see with the naked eye.

Saturn will reach opposition this weekend, which means it will be situated directly opposite the Sun from Earth's perspective. At this time, the gas giant will also be at its closest point to Earth, or perigee. This combination of celestial events will make Saturn appear at its brightest and biggest in the night sky.

The best time to see Saturn this weekend is on Sunday, August 27th. The planet will reach its highest point in the sky around midnight in North America, and its exact moment of opposition will occur a few hours later, at 4:20 AM EDT (8:20 GMT, 1:50 PM IST).

At the moment of opposition, Saturn will reach a magnitude of 0.4, which is its brightest for 2023. Objects with lower magnitudes are brighter, and the full moon has a magnitude of -12.6.

Saturn can be seen with the naked eye on Sunday, but binoculars will reveal more detail, such as its pale yellow colour. Under the right conditions, some high-powered binoculars may even be able to show faint traces of Saturn's rings or its largest moon, Titan.

With a telescope, Saturn's rings should be clearly visible. The gas giant's rings are currently beginning to tilt more on-edge toward Earth, and they will continue to do so until 2025, according to NASA.