On June 15, Saturn reaches opposition, which is when Saturn, Earth and the sun are all in a straight line, with Earth in the middle. Opposition provides the best and closest views of the ringed planet and several of its brightest moons. If you see just one, that’s Titan. Titan is 50% larger than our own moon and orbits Saturn about every 16 Earth days. Through a telescope you’ll be able to compare the cloud bands on both Saturn and Jupiter. Credit: NASA
Darker, cooler areas on the Sun – known as sunspots – have been absent for almost two weeks, as of Feb. 1.
February 06 | 2018
A single, tiny one appeared on Jan. 31, but even that is hard to see in this rotating view from our Solar Dynamics Observatory. The video shows a rotating sun in filtered light for the past week, but it is even hard to tell the sun is rotating since there are just about no features. This spotless period is a prelude to the approaching period of solar minimum next year, when the Sun’s activity will be at the low end of its 11-year cycle. Credit: NASA/SDO