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Saturn's majestic opposition

May 2014: Saturn shines brighter than it has in seven years throughout the night while Mars flies high in the south and Jupiter gleams in the west after sunset.
Saturn's rings open wider this year than at any time since 2005.

Three planets provide a stunning variety of viewing options this spring. Do you like tracking atmospheric features? Jupiter offers plenty of opportunities in early evening. Do you prefer seeing planetary surfaces? Mars, now just one month past its best, continues an eye-catching show nearly all night. Or perhaps gorgeous ring systems excite you most? Then don’t miss Saturn, which reaches opposition and peak visibility in May, with its rings open wider than at any time since 2005. Add Mercury glowing bright in evening twilight and Venus dominating before dawn, and May’s smorgasbord rivals any this year.

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