Now, this is something that does not happen every day.

Malaysians will have the chance to catch the planet Saturn after sunset tomorrow (Friday, 3rd June), as the ringed planet is orbiting closest to Earth at that time. Observers will also be able to witness the orbit of Saturn throughout the whole month of June.

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

The planet will be directly opposite the Sun, as the ringed planet rises when the Sun sets. It will remain visible all night and will set only when the Sun rises.

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To get a clearer view of the planet, viewers are encouraged to use binoculars or telescopes. However, the set of bright rings around the equator and the oval shape of Saturn will only be visible through a telescope that has a magnifying power of over 25 times. Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, will also be visible via telescope.

Source: Sky & Telescope
Source: Sky & Telescope

It is also possible to observe Saturn through the naked eye, but it will only be seen as a very bright star, stated National Space Agency (Angkasa) research officer at the Langkawi National Observatory Farhana Kamarudin.

She continued:

This date will give the best position for researchers and astronomy enthusiasts to view the planet because it will be at its brightest, making it easy for viewing and recording.

Kamarudin also explained that the planet would be in the east with the constellation Scorpio, and the best place to view it would be in an open space without any obstructions by clouds or lights.

She also encouraged observers to use the applications Google Sky or StarMap on their smartphones to help track the star.

Source: Sky & Telescope
Source: Sky & Telescope

Saturn takes 29.5 years (10,759 days) to complete its orbit around the Sun and gets close to Earth every 379 days. The last time Saturn was at this position was on 23rd May 2015 and the next time will be on 15th June 2017.

Although comparatively close, Saturn will still be roughly 840 million miles away from Earth.

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Sources: Bernama via New Straits Times, Space, Oregon Live.

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