Saturn at Opposition
In 2021 Saturn is at opposition on August 2, and it spends most of the year preceding Jupiter across the sky by about an hour. It’s visible before dawn by the start of April and is well placed in the pre-dawn skies by April, Between August and October it’s well placed at the end of twilight, and it remains easily visible through the end of the year. At opposition, the Earth lies between Saturn and the Sun, and so they appear opposite each other in our sky. On the day of opposition, Saturn rises when the Sun sets. It is also the time when the Earth is closest to Saturn in our orbit, making Saturn appear somewhat bigger and brighter in the sky than usual.
This year, we’re 18° out of the plane of Saturn’s equator: you can see its north pole, and the rings look very wide open (they were at their widest in 2017). That means that this is a good year to look at the rings before they start to become less prominently displayed over the next several years. Make sure to look for Cassini’s division, which should be easily visible even in a small telescope if the sky is steady and also see how many of its moons you can find.