Posted on Feb 22, 2007

Saturn's rings, photo courtesy of Sky Image Lab

February brings Saturn closest to the Earth during its orbit making for prime viewing of the planet, so Union's Dudley Observatory invites the campus and community to view the ringed-planet Saturday, Feb. 24 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the Olin Center, room 301.

The event, free and open to the public, will be held if the weather is clear.

Saturn is at opposition in February, which means the planet is opposite from the Sun relative to the Earth and the planet will rise as the Sun sets and set as the Sun rises providing a full night of observation. Opposition months are the best time to view planets that are on the outside of the Earth's orbit as they appear a bit larger and brighter during these time periods.

In addition, Saturn's rings are becoming more edge-on or parallel as seen from the Earth making them progressively more difficult to see for the next one to two decades.

Saturn dragon storm, photo courtesy of Sky Image Lab

For additional information on the Open House or Dudley Observatory, contact Observatory Manager Francis Wilkin at (518) 388-6344 or via e-mail at

* Photos taken by the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft courtesy of Sky Image Labs.