Saturn Near Waning Gibbous Moon Near April 8

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Saturn continues to brighten in the early morning sky this month on its way to opposition in May. The ringed planet lies just 2.1° south of the waning gibbous Moon on April 8, 2015. Look for the pair above the southeastern horizon after midnight and into the early morning hours. Shining with a steady straw-colored glow, Saturn remains just one degree north of the blue-white star Jabbah (ν Scorpii), one of the three stars that mark the head of Scorpius, the Scorpion.

Saturn’s rings are tilted about 24º from edge-on this year, nearly the maximum possible, so this is a good year for imaging the planet. The steep tilt of the rings also makes the planet unusually bright. Saturn’s brightness increases to magnitude +0.1 this month, roughly as bright as the stars Vega and Arcturus.

Both of Slooh’s main telescopes in Tenerife and Chile, where Saturn is well above the horizon, offer superb opportunities for imaging the ringed planet during this observing season.

 

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