Saturn will be closer to Earth on New Year's Eve than at any time in the past three decades.
In a stroke of good timing, Saturn's rings are tilted favorably, so that in small telescopes they are as striking as they can be. The setup provides backyard skywatchers a fine opportunity to see the planet at its best.
"Saturn's going to be really beautiful," said NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams. "Sunlight reflected from Saturn's rings makes the planet extra bright."
The gas giant planet will be 748.3 million miles (1.2 billion kilometers) from Earth. It will not be closer until January of 2034.
ther planets are visible now. Mars continues to shine fairly brightly. Its noticable for its orange tint and can be found high in the south after sunset. Look for it below and to the right of the moon on New Year's Eve. Mars sets in the west at around midnight local time.
Jupiter is unmistakably bright. It rises in the east at about 10:30 p.m. local time and should be obvious at midnight, the dominant point of light in the eastern sky.