Saturn in opposition 2021: see Saturn shine with its greatest brilliance this year

On August 1 and 2, Saturn will be in opposition, which means that the Earth will be located between the planet with the rings and the sun. This is when the outer planet will be the brightest, offering a brilliant view of the night sky.

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 descends below the horizon after sunset, Jupiter will be the brightest object in the sky, EarthSky said. To find Saturn, look just west of Jupiter.

If you’re hoping to spot Saturn’s famous rings, you’ll need to pull out a telescope, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

“From Sunday night through Monday morning, much of the Midwest and parts of western California will see mostly clear skies,” CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. “A strip of cloudy sky will exist across the northwest in the Rockies, across many southern states and into the northeast.”

Don’t worry if your city has cloudy weather in early August, as Saturn will stay 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 cover the diameter of the gas planet, according to NASA – and that doesn’t include the rings.

Full moons

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

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

August 22 – sturgeon moon

September 20 – harvest moon

October 20 – hunter’s moon

November 19 – beaver moon

December 18 – cold moon

Also be sure to research other names of these moons, attributed to their respective Native American tribes.

Meteor showers

The Perseid meteor shower, the most popular of the year, will peak between August 11 and 12 in the northern hemisphere, when the moon is only 13% full.

Largest known comet is heading close enough to be visible
Here is the meteor shower schedule for the rest of the year, according to EarthSky’s meteor shower outlook.

• October 8: Draconids

• October 21: Orionides

• November 4 to 5: Taurides du Sud

• November 11 to 12: Taurides du Nord

• November 17: Leonids

• December 13 to 14: Geminides

• December 22: Ursides

Solar and lunar eclipses

This year there will be another solar eclipse and another lunar eclipse, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

November 19 will see a partial lunar eclipse, and sky watchers in North America and Hawaii will be able to see it between 1 a.m.ET and 7:06 a.m.ET.

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

Visible planets

Sky watchers will have multiple opportunities to spot the planets in our skies on certain mornings and evenings throughout 2021, according to the Farmer’s Almanac planetary guide.

Most of them can be seen 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 October 18 to November 1. It will shine in the night sky from August 31 to September 21 and from November 29 to December 31.

A Stargazing Guide for Beginners (CNN Underscored)

Venus, our closest neighbor in the solar system, will appear in the western sky at dusk in the evening until December 31. It is the second brightest object in our sky, after the moon.

Mars makes its reddish appearance in the morning sky between November 24 and December 31 and will be visible in the evening sky until August 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 until August 19. Look for it on the evening of August 20 to December 31, but it will be at its peak from August 8 to September 2.

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

Binoculars or a telescope will help you spot Uranus’ greenish glow in the morning through November 3 and in the evening from November 4 through December 31. It will be at its peak between August 28 and December 31.

And our furthest neighbor in the solar system, Neptune, will be visible through a telescope in the morning through September 13 and in the evening from September 14 through December 31. It will be at its maximum between July 19 and November 8.


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