Saturn is the second largest planet, and twice as far away as Jupiter. What it loses on account of its extra distance it makes up for in the beauty of its rings - the planet's tilt means that they are well presented to us in 2002, but will be seen edge on in 2008. Even in binoculars you can see there is something odd about Saturn, just as Galileo noticed hundreds of years ago when he discovered the rings.
In addition, Saturn has a large constellation of moons, one of which, Titan, is only just pipped at the post by Jupiter's Ganymede as the largest in the Solar System. A good pair of binoculars will reveal it, but a telescope is required for the others.
|Distance from Sun (Million km):||1,347 (min)||1,507 (max)|
|Min. Distance from Earth (Million km):||1,272|
|Orbital Period:||29.5 years|
|Mean Interval between Oppositions:||378 days|
|Diameter (km):||119,300 (equatorial)||107,700 (polar)|
|Rotation Period:||10h 39m|
|Apparent Diameter (arc seconds):||21 (max), 15 (min)|
|Max. Apparent Brightness (magnitude):||-0.3|
|Jet Propulsion Laboratory Saturn pages|