The Sky at Night

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Saturn is presently located in the dim and difficult constellation of Pisces, far outshining any of it stars. On the night of the 21st/22nd, the waning gibbous Moon, following its eastward track in the sky, skims past Saturn missing the planet by a whisker. The pair rise at about 9.45pm BST that evening though it will be around midnight before they are high enough above the east-south-east horizon to be easily visible. Over the course of the rdght, the Moon gradually edges its way below Saturn, closing the gap until there is only half a degree between them at 3.45am. After that they pull apart again. This fine celestial alignment is a foretaste of the encounter to come in the early hours of 12 November, when the Moon will occult Saturn completely for about an hour.

Jacqueline Mitton

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