Give Me a Break!

saturn-huge   This was recently posted on Facebook, which we all know to be the ultimate source for correct information. Let me emphatically state that no this is not going to happen. Saturn will not somehow move near enough to the Earth to be that large, nor from its actual orbital position ever appear that large; even with opposition about 1 month away, in early June. On May 1st Saturn will be at a distance of 9.16 AU (1,370,316,495 km; 851,475,194 miles) from the Earth, and the apparent size of Saturn, as seen from that distance is about 18″ (18 arcseconds). For comparison the full Moon has an apparent diameter of about 30′ (30 minutes) or 0.5o.

    I’m not sure which is worse, the person that posted this, or the people that blindly share the post without first verifying that it is true.

   On May 1st Saturn rises before sunrise local time and is a few degrees east from Mars, and a few degrees north and west from the reddish star Antares in Scorpius the scorpion.


Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

One thought on “Give Me a Break!

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