If you enjoy stargazing, you’ll want to mark September 7 and 8 on your calendar.
On those nights, Saturn will not only shine brightly all night, it’ll also be near the moon so you can watch the two as they move across the night sky together. What’s more, people using a telescope should be able to see Saturn’s rings and they may be able to see one of the planet’s numerous moons, according to EarthSky.
On Wednesday, September 7, Saturn will appear slightly above and to the left of the moon as twilight ends, according to NASA. That will be at 8:28 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
The moon and Saturn will then move across the night sky. When the moon finally sets on Thursday at 4:14 a.m., Saturn will be just above and to the right of the moon.
Saturn’s Rings And Moons
Saturn, which doesn’t have a rocky surface like Earth because it is a gas giant, is the sixth planet from the Sun. It’s also the second-largest planet in our solar system. To put its size in perspective, if you placed nine Earths side by side, they would almost span Saturn’s diameter — not including its rings, NASA explains.
Now, about those rings. Saturn’s rings are actually chunks of ice and rock that are held in place by the planet’s gravitational pull. Although Saturn isn’t the only planet with rings, it does have what NASA calls “the most spectacular ring system” because there are seven rings with several gaps and divisions between them.
Interestingly, Saturn also has 82 moons. Of that number, 53 are known moons while another 29 moons haven’t received official confirmation of their discovery yet.
Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is larger than Earth’s moon — and even larger than the planet Mercury. Of the 150 known moons in our solar system, Titan is the only one that has clouds and a thick atmosphere.
Amazingly, other than Earth, Titan is the only other place in the solar system with liquids on its surface in the form of rivers, lakes, and seas. Instead of water, however, they are liquid hydrocarbons such as methane and ethane, NASA continues.
How To Watch Saturn And The Moon
First, the good news: When you go outside to look at Saturn, it’ll be easy to locate because it’ll be so near the moon. It will be slightly above and to the left of the moon.
Now the bad news: The moon will be nearly full and bright on September 7, possibly making it difficult to see Saturn. By the way, September’s full moon on Saturday, September 10, is known as the Harvest Moon because it occurs nearest the autumnal equinox on Thursday, September 22.
If the glare from the moon makes it difficult to see Saturn, you can simply hold your hand out at arm’s length and cover the moon with one of your fingers. This will make it easier to see Saturn, EarthSky explains.
Be sure to check out the rest of our stargazing content as well, including