Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail Photo of snowy Sussex woodland trail

Finding Saturn

I crept outside this morning, trying not to wake the kids, and treated my self to a pre-heliacal viewing of Saturn. He was happily nestled under the star Porrima, that is to say between Virgo’s armpit and her shoulder.

If you are awake shortly before sunrise over the next couple of weeks, look just south of east. If it is clear then you should see what appears to be white star on top of a yellow one, both of them sitting not far above the horizon. The higher of the two is Gamma Virginis, or Porrima, in the constellation, Virgo. Below that will be the orangey-yellow Saturn. Neither of them are especially bright and so they will not stand out with the confidence that Jupiter is doing at night at the moment, but they should still be easy to find until the first light of dawn swamps them.

NB. Try not to be thrown by a brighter orange object that is closer to northeast, but also low in the sky early in the morning at this time of year; this is the star Arcturus, in the constellation, Bootes. It is the third brightest star in the night sky and so will likely draw your attention.