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Unofficial International Astronomy Day

April 23, 2013; 2:06 PM

This Saturday, April 27, has been declared (unofficially) International Astronomy Day. The reason for this day is to try to get people that normally are not thinking about astronomy to use a telescope and see Saturn since it is in opposition to the sun.

Photo of Saturn taken in 2007 by Hunter Clifton Outten

What does the opposition of Saturn mean? Basically, the orbit of our planet (Earth) brings us between Saturn and the sun each year. The event is called opposition by astronomers. This time of year, Saturn is opposite (thus the term opposition) to the sun in Earth's sky. When this happens, Saturn rises in the east at sunset and sets in the west at sunrise. So Saturn is up all night and is in a perfect spot to be seen. At the same time, Saturn will be closest to Earth for all of 2013. As a result, Saturn is now shining most brilliantly in our sky, the brightest it will be all year.

The Sussex County Astronomy Society (based in Delaware) is trying to get people to come out to see this event. They have called in unofficially International Astronomy Day.

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Astronomy Blog
The astronomy blog, by Mark Paquette, discusses stargazing and astronomy issues and how the weather will interact with current astronomy events.