Christiaan Huygens

The Huygens space probe is named after the versatile Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens (1629-95), who invented the pendulum clock, proposed the wave theory of light, and made excellent telescopes. In 1655, Huygens not only discovered Titan, he also explained the mystery of Saturn's rings—that they are a band of material whose appearance changes according to the planet's position with respect to Earth.

observing saturn

Saturn is visible to the naked eye for about 10 months of each year, and it looks like a bright yellowish star. At its brightest, it reaches magnitude —0.3. This happens when the rings are face-on to us and more light is reflected.

A telescope will show the rings and is needed to reveal any surface detail. The best time to see Saturn is at opposition, which happens annually, about two weeks later each year. In the course of its orbit, Saturn spends about 2.5 years in each zodiacal constellation in turn.

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