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The planet Saturn is tailing the sea goat these days. It’s just a couple of degrees from Deneb Algedi, the star that represents the tail of Capricornus, the sea goat. And Saturn will stick with the star for quite a while.
They’re in the southeast at first light now. Saturn looks like a bright golden star, with Deneb Algedi — an Arabic name that means “tail of the goat” — to its lower right. They’re separated by about two degrees — the width of your finger held at arm’s length. The rest of Capricornus, which forms a wide triangle, spreads to the west.
Deneb Algedi actually consists of four stars. Two of them form a tight binary. One of those stars is bigger, brighter, and heavier than the Sun. The other is fairly similar to the Sun. The other two stars in the system are far away from the binary.
Saturn has been hanging close to Deneb Algedi for a couple of months. And they’ll stay about as close as they are now for a couple of months longer.
After that, Saturn will slide to the west of the star — across the top line of the sea goat’s triangle. That’s because the orbital motions of Earth and Saturn will combine to make the planet appear to slide in reverse against the background of stars. That will end around Halloween, when Saturn will resume its normal eastward motion. That will make it cozy up to Deneb Algedi again late this year and into 2023 — as Saturn continues to “tail” the sea goat.
Script by Damond Benningfield