Saturn Will Glow Brightly in the Sky Next Week—Here’s How to See It

See Saturn shine brightly for this once-a-year nighttime spectacle.

On Aug. 1 and 2, Saturn will be at opposition, meaning the Earth will be located between the ringed planet and the sun. This is when the outer planet will be at its most luminous, making for a brilliant night sky view.

Saturn’s opposition is at 2 a.m. ET on August 2, or 11 p.m. PT for those on the West Coast, according to EarthSky.

Once Venus sinks below the horizon after the sun sets, Jupiter will be the brightest object in the sky, EarthSky said. To find Saturn, look just west of Jupiter.

If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of Saturn’s famous rings, you’ll need to whip out a telescope, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

“Sunday night into Monday morning much of the Midwest and portions of western California will see mostly clear skies,” CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. “A swath of cloudy skies will exist across the Northwest into the Rockies, across many southern states and into the Northeast.”

Don’t worry if your town has cloudy weather at the beginning of August because Saturn will remain bright in the sky for the rest of the month, EarthSky said.

Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun, and it would take nine Earths to span the diameter of the gaseous planet, according to NASA—and that’s not including the rings.

Full Moons

Typical of a normal year, 2021 has 12 full moons. (There were 13 full moons last year, two of which were in October.)

Here are all of the full moons remaining this year and their names, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac:

Aug. 22: sturgeon moon

Sept. 20—harvest moon

Oct. 20: hunter’s moon

Nov. 19: beaver moon

Dec. 18: cold moon

Be sure to check for the other names of these moons as well, attributed to their respective Native American tribes.

Meteor Showers

The Perseid meteor shower, the most popular of the year, will peak between Aug. 11 and 12 in the Northern Hemisphere, when the moon is only 13 percent full.

Here is the meteor shower schedule for the rest of the year, according to EarthSky’s meteor shower outlook.

• Oct. 8: Draconids

• Oct. 21: Orionids

• Nov. 4 to 5: South Taurids

• Nov. 11 to 12: North Taurids

• Nov. 17: Leonids

• Dec. 13 to 14: Geminids

• Dec. 22: Ursids

Solar and Lunar Eclipses

This year, there will be one more eclipse of the sun and another eclipse of the moon, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Nov. 19 will see a partial eclipse of the moon, and skywatchers in North America and Hawaii can view it between 1 a.m. ET and 7:06 a.m. ET.

And the year will end with a total eclipse of the sun on December 4. It won’t be visible in North America, but those in the Falkland Islands, the southern tip of Africa, Antarctica, and southeastern Australia will be able to spot it.

Visible Planets

Skywatchers will have multiple opportunities to spot the planets in our sky during certain mornings and evenings throughout 2021, according to the Farmer’s Almanac planetary guide.

It’s possible to see most of these with the naked eye, with the exception of distant Neptune, but binoculars or a telescope will provide the best view.

Mercury will look like a bright star in the morning sky from Oct. 18 to Nove. 1. It will shine in the night sky from Aug. 31 to Sept. 21, and Nov. 29 to Dec. 31.

Venus, our closest neighbor in the solar system, will appear in the western sky at dusk in the evenings through Dec. 31. It’s the second-brightest object in our sky, after the moon.

Mars makes its reddish appearance in the morning sky between Nov. 24 and Dec. 31, and it will be visible in the evening sky through Aug. 22.

Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, is the third-brightest object in our sky. It will be on display in the morning sky through August 19. Look for it in the evenings Aug. 20 to Dec. 31—but it will be at its brightest from Aug. 8 to Sept. 2.

Saturn’s rings are only visible through a telescope, but the planet itself can still be seen with the naked eye in the mornings through Aug. 1 and in the evenings from Aug. 2 to Dec. 31. It will be at its brightest during the first four days of August.

Binoculars or a telescope will help you spot the greenish glow of Uranus in the mornings through Nov. 3 and in the evenings from Nov. 4 to Dec. 31. It will be at its brightest between Aug. 28 and Dec. 31.

And our most distant neighbor in the solar system, Neptune, will be visible through a telescope in the mornings through Sept. 13 and during the evenings Sept. 14 to Dec. 31. It will be at its brightest between July 19 and Nov. 8.

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