Grab your telescope! The ringed planet will decorate Qatar’s skies twice this May.
Space lovers will have double the pleasure this month as Qatar Calendar House confirms Saturn will emerge alongside the moon in Qatar’s skies twice.
The first encounter will be on Tuesday, May 4, the institution announced, while the second will be on Monday, May 31, after the holy month of Ramadan comes to a close.
Qatar Calendar House Astronomer Dr. Bashir Marziuq said the first meeting will occur during the early hours of Tuesday, coinciding with the 22nd of Ramadan.
Residents will be able to observe Saturn and the moon together with the naked eye or with telescopes above the eastern horizon of Qatar.
The encounter will take place after moonrise and will remain visible until sunrise on Tuesday. The moon will rise after midnight on Tuesday, 12:42 am Doha time, while the sun will rise on Tuesday at 4:56 am.
Similarly, the second meeting can also be seen with the naked eye or using professional equipment above Qatar’s eastern horizon after moonrise on Sunday evening at 10:36 pm Doha local time, up until 4:44 am on Monday.
Marzouq explained that such phenomena are natural and will not affect the planet as some others claim, adding that these encounters are essential in order to monitor Saturn and the moon together at the nearest point.
It also confirms the accuracy of astronomical calculations related to the orbits of motion, the expert added.
Best known for its beautiful rings that encircle its equator, Saturn is a “gas giant” composed primarily of hydrogen and helium and is also the second largest planet in our solar system.
Its diameter is nearly ten times that of Earth’s, and its bright rings are made up of countless particles of ice and rock that each orbit Saturn independently.
The planet can be seen and observed from the surface of the Earth with the naked eye as a bright star, but a telescope is needed to see the rings, the expert added.