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by Bob Everoski
The planets Venus and Saturn
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Look about 12 degrees above the eastern horizon at 6:00 A.M., and you will see an unusually bright white looking star. There is no other object in that area of the sky that is even close to being as bright. Remember, if you hold your fist out at arm’s length, the distance between the lower and upper part of your fist measures about 10 degrees.
The celestial object you are looking at is not a star at all, but the planet Venus. It is the second planet in order of its distance from the Sun. The Earth is the third planet from the Sun.
Through a small telescope, Venus now looks like a gibbous Moon, and is about 88% illuminated.
Currently, the planet Venus is situated in the constellation of Virgo which is one of the constellations of
the zodiac.
Less than 2 degrees away from Venus from our line of sight here on the Earth is the planet Saturn. This is now an excellent opportunity to see Saturn, and its magnificent ring system. It is literally
a breath taking view! However, a telescope at a low power of at least 40 times is needed to see the ring system.
With the unaided eye, it will be a little difficult to see the planet Saturn near Venus. The reason being is that Venus is about 70 times brighter than the planet Saturn. A pair of binoculars, however, will
show the pair much better.
The two planets continue to approach closer to each other, and on the morning of Tuesday, November 27, they will be less than one degree apart.
Saturn is the sixth planet in order of its distance from the Sun. It is also the second largest planet in our solar system. It has an equatorial diameter of approximately 75,000 miles.
Currently, Saturn is about 980 million miles from the Earth. The atmosphere of Saturn consists
mainly of hydrogen and helium with small amounts of methane, ammonia, and water vapor. The planet is completely cloud covered.
It has 62 known moons, but there are probably more. The largest moon is named Titan. This moon of Saturn has a dense atmosphere consisting of 96 percent nitrogen.

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