I've also read that right about now is the best time to view the ringed planet, because it's right now in opposition this month- that means it's directly opposite the sun and therefore at it's most reflective. It's going to be around Leo / Virgo for a few years , but that part of the night sky is only visible in the first half of the year.
Leo is quite easy to spot - it's almost directly overhead from 10pm to midnight at this time of the year (at least in this part of the globe) . The sickle-shaped formation is the lion's head (see right side of photo). A line of stars leads to a right triangle made by three brighter stars (see left) - that "triangle" is the lion's rear end.
Image from here.
Just in case you live in the city (like I do), it would be kinda hard to spot the fainter stars that form the crescent shape. There's another easy way to spot Saturn though:
Three of Leo's brightest stars are very visible --
- Regulus [alpha leonis, or the brightest star in Leo] - that's the lion's heart, found at the "base" of the sickle shape.
- Denebola [beta leonis, the second brightest] - the "rearmost" end of the lion.
- and Zosma [delta leonis] - the lion's tailbone... or the arch of his spine, depending on the artist's interpretation.
Normally, where Saturn is, there should be a fainter star there. The planet's brightness eclipses the star. You can tell it's a planet because the light is steady; stars flicker.
Man, I really wish I own a telescope. I must go to an observatory sometime soon. The hubby was able to view Saturn some years ago, from an observatory in L.A., and he says the view is just spectacular.
I have never been to an observatory - not even in those elementary school field trips. Grade school kids have trips to one every year, but I have always had the misfortune of being in the section that is scheduled to go on a day the observatory is closed (the ceiling is being painted, the projector is broken, whatever). I tried going with my cousins when I was ten years old, but I had the same luck. And then I have no idea why I never took advantage of our university observatory when I was a college student. So now that I am planning a visit to an observatory, I don't know how to go about it, haha.
Hey, I just learned that Jupiter was around the same spot in 2004. :) Hee hee. Geek trivia.