Saturn’s rings will be visible as planet begins its closest pass by Earth

WASHINGTON — The rings of Saturn are shining bright this month.

Beginning Tuesday, Saturn will be at opposition, meaning it will rise opposite the sun in the Earth’s sky.

Opposition gives humans the best views of the gas giant and a number of its moons, according to NASA.

The planet will be visible to the naked eye, but a telescope will be needed to spot the iconic rings, according to EarthSky.org.

When Earth passes between the sun and a planet outside its own orbit, the other planet “is generally closest to Earth and brightest for that year,” EarthSky notes notes.

During this time Saturn, Earth and the sun will be in a straight line, with Earth in the center.

Saturn will be visible in the southeast sky Tuesday, according to EarthSky, and can be spotted in the “teapot” of the Sagittarius constellation.

It will appear highest in the sky about midnight but will be visible all night, setting in the west as the sun begins to rise in the east.

Saturn’s opposition will provide good views of the planet during July, August and September.

On July 15 and 16, a full moon “scrapes by the ringed planet,”¬†according to NASA. During this time, people in South America will be able to see the moon pass directly in front of Saturn.

This celestial event happens to fall on the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 mission.

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