Wednesday, 21 August, 2019

Full Strawberry Moon, Saturn reaching opposition make for prime skygazing week

Full Moon Full Moon in LondonReuters
Sandra Phillips | 26 June, 2018, 21:51

A slightly smaller strawberry moon is expected Thursday night as well, he said.

Following the full moon and Saturn tandem would be the "Strawberry Moon", or summer's first full moon on Wednesday which will rise around 12:53 a.m. ET on Wednesday, or 12:53 p.m.in the Philippines which could make viewing nearly impossible in the country. Fortunately for skygazers, viewing the Saturn opposition won't require any sophisticated equipment, as a solid, reliable set of binoculars should do the trick in most cases.

Saturn will officially reach opposition around 9 a.m. EDT Wednesday, but the best time to see it will not come until Wednesday night when it pairs up with the moon.

Thought to have formed some 4.51 billion years ago from debris left over after an impact between Earth and a Mars-sized body called Theia, the Moon is the second-brightest regularly visible celestial object-after the sun. "If you have never spotted Saturn's rings, now is your chance", AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel said. 6 a.m. PT on Wednesday.

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Saturn is the furthest planet from us that can be seen with the naked eye, and for ancient cultures, Saturn's orbital rhythm was used to establish the structure of time. "It's a cool moon because it traces a shallow path across the sky", Bob Bonadurer, director of the Milwaukee Public Museum's Daniel M. Soref Dome Theater & Planetarium said to Journal Sentinel. The higher your observation point, and the fewer buildings and cloud are obstructing the horizon, the sooner you'll see it.

Also Wednesday night, sky watchers should be able to see the planet Saturn, which will appear just south of the full moon and will be at its biggest and brightest of 2018. So across North America, the full Strawberry Moon will appear before the sun goes down. You will be targeting at about ten degrees over the horizons to get a clear view of the ringed gas giant.

And while the full moon will only last the day, Saturn will be visible in the night sky for several more months.

"The Mars opposition will be July 27, and it will be perhaps the second closest opposition in almost 60,000 years, second only to the opposition of 2003", Samuhel said.

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