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Saturn reaches opposition in Ophiuchus on June 3rd. On this day the planet is visible all night long and at its best for the year. With a declination of -20.5 degrees it's much better placed from southern and tropical locations. For example, the planet reaches at maximum altitude of 77 degrees and is visible for over 13 hours from Sydney, Australia. Whereas from New York City, it climbs just 29 degrees high, visibility only 9 hours.

The surrounding region of sky also contains Mars (mag. -2.0) about 15 degrees to the west and first magnitude red supergiant star Antares (α Sco - mag. +1.0) approx. 6 degrees southwest of Saturn. Of the three objects Mars is easily the brightest followed by Saturn then Antares. Saturn reaches its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time.

Saturn imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope  (credit - NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA))

At opposition, Saturn shines at magnitude 0.0 and is located 9.015 AU or approx. 1349 million kilometres (838 million miles) from Earth. Of course the spectacular rings are its most famous feature and even a small telescope will show them. They are currently wide open with a 26.1 degree tilt. The planet's apparent diameter is 18.4 arc seconds and the rings span 42 arc seconds.

Through medium and large aperture scopes the rings are a breathtaking sight. In addition, a handful of Saturn's moons are also visible. The largest and brightest is eighth magnitude Titan which can be seen with binoculars. Small scopes will also show other moons including Rhea, Tethys and Dione. The moons are also at their brightest at this time of year.

Saturn's co-ordinates on June 3rd are:- R.A. = 16hr 46m 40s, Dec. = -20d 33h 10s.

View looking towards the southeast just after sunset on June 3, 2016 from London, England (credit:- stellarium/freestarcharts)

View looking towards the east just after sunset on June 3, 2016 from Cape Town, South Africa (credit:- stellarium/freestarcharts)

Saturn's location on June 3, 2016 (credit:- freestarcharts)

Saturn's location on June 3, 2016 - pdf format (credit:- freestarcharts)