Saturn at Opposition on March 8th, 2009

The ringed world Saturn reaches opposition for 2009 on the 8th March, which means that the Sun, the Earth and Saturn form a straight line in space.

It also means Saturn is visible all night long – rising at Sunset, passing overhead at midnight and setting at Sunrise.

Of course overhead doesn’t necessarily mean Saturn will be straight up – depending on your latitude Saturn is likely to be lower in the sky. For mid-southern latitudes, Saturn reaches an altitude of approx 45°.

Opposition is also a great time to observe a planet because it’s closest to Earth in its orbit around the Sun, making it appear bigger and brighter. However with the ring plane tilted towards Earth this year and in 2010, Saturn’s rings aren’t reflecting much light our way so Saturn is a dim magnitude 0.49 in 2009 and an even fainter mag 0.53 in 2010!

Look for Saturn towards the North East after 9:30pm, but will be best to observe heading towards midnight when it’s higher in the sky.

Saturn at Opposition - March 8th 2009

Saturn at Opposition - March 8th 2009

Good luck with your observing, I hope you get clear skies!

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