See Saturn, Find Milky Way Treasure

Saturn is the brightest object in the southern sky at nightfall at the moment. It forms a very wide pair with Antares,  a bright, red-hued star one magnitude fainter than Saturn. At 11 p.m. local daylight time, Antares stands due south with Saturn a fist and a half (15°) to its east or left. The bright planets…
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Saturn Dishes Out A Full Helping Of Rings This Season

Neptune’s got ’em. Jupiter’s got ’em. Uranus has them, too. But no planet has a set of rings like Saturn.  While the others are spindly and faint, Saturn’s are rich in water ice ranging in size from tiny grains to big boulders. This year, those rings will be tipped wide open, as far as they can…
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What A Week It’s Been At Saturn!

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft zipped between Saturn and its gossamer rings for a second time on May 2 and returned fresh, stunning photos of the solar system’s most picturesque planet. During the first crossing on April 26, scientists discovered the region was nearly empty of dust and ice particles. They expected to the probe to smack…
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Cassini Dives Through Saturn’s Rings, Sends Stunning Closeups

  NASA’s Cassini spacecraft made its successful first-ever dive through the narrow gap between the planet Saturn and its rings on April 26 and sent back images that might just turn your eyes into saucers. As it dove through the gap, the probe came within about 1,900 miles (3,000 km) of Saturn’s cloud tops and within…
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What’s That Bright Star At Dawn?

Several people have asked me in recent days what that bright “star” is shining near the sun at dawn. It’s Venus, brightest of the planets. Venus was in inferior conjunction with the sun on March 25, the date it wrapped up its evening sky run. During inferior conjunction, a planet passes between the Earth and sun…
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