Binocular Observing: Saturn

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Named after the Roman god of wealth and agriculture, Saturn’s reputation has varied across cultures, being associated with abundance in some, and misfortune in others. Fortunately, antiquated notions of astrology have largely been dispensed with, and Saturn now enjoys its place as one of the jewels of the night sky, with its beautiful expansive ice rings.

Features

Saturn shines with a beautiful golden colour, and binoculars can intensify this. Its rings can’t be resolved by binoculars with a magnification less than 50x. However, Saturn’s size makes it a rewarding target –  in smaller binoculars, one can make out an oval shape, a distortion caused by the width of its rings.

Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is sometimes visible through binoculars. If you’re aiming to see Titan, ensure that you are properly dark adapted, and consider using a tripod to steady the binoculars.

Observing times

Depending on where Saturn is in its orbit around the Sun, it appears at different times in the night sky. Check timeanddate.com/astronomy/night/ to see when it rises and sets, and the best times to view it.


Other Useful Articles:

Dark Adaptation

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