Bright Jupiter and Saturn shine from the southeastern sky after sunset during August 2020.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Bright Jupiter and Saturn shine from the southeastern sky during late evening twilight this evening.
Saturn is 8.1° to the lower left of the Giant Planet. The gap between them continues to widen during the next month. In the starfield, Jupiter is 1.4° to the right of 50 Sagittarii (50 Sgr on the photo) and 2.9° to the lower left of Pi Sagittarii (π Sgr), while Saturn is 2.4° to the lower left of 56 Sagittarii (56 Sgr).
This planetary pair passed opposition last month and the planets continue to retrograde in eastern Sagittarius.
Retrograde motion is a illusion that occurs when our faster moving Earth catches up to the outer planets, passes them, and moves away.
Jupiter retrogrades until September 12, and Saturn ends its westward illusive apparent motion on September 28.
As the evening progresses, Mars appears in the eastern sky as the midnight hour approaches.
Venus is above the horizon by 3 a.m. Tomorrow morning (August 13), Venus moves into Gemini.
Venus and the crescent moon make a beautiful grouping on August 15. Get your camera ready!
The window is quickly closing to see the four brightest planets in the sky together. Venus is moving eastward compared to the starry background, while Jupiter is moving westward. Venus rises as Jupiter sets on August 25. Saturn follows in early September. If you’re an early riser, what is the last date you see all four together? You’ll need clear horizons in the east-northeast and toward the southwest.
The first sightings of Sirius by the unaided eye occur this week about 45 minutes before sunrise.
Here is a daily summary about the planets during August.
- 2023, December 19: A Scorpion Fumble, Moon MidwayDecember 19, 2023: Before sunrise, Venus appears below the Scorpion’s claws. After sundown, the moon is nearly midway from Saturn to Jupiter.
- 2023, December 18: Pinched VenusDecember 18, 2023: Look for Venus between the Scorpion’s claws in the southeast before sunrise. The thick crescent moon is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn.
- 2023, December 17: Celestial PairsDecember 17, 2023: Before sunrise, Venus passes Zubenelgenubi, a planet-star conjunction. After sundown, Saturn and crescent moon are paired, a planet-moon conjunction.
- 2023, December 16: Venus Clawed, Evening Crescent Nears SaturnDecember 16, 2023: Before daybreak, Venus is above the Scorpion’s southern claw. After nightfall, the crescent moon nears Saturn.
- 2023, December 15: Brilliant Morning Star, Evening Lunar CrescentDecember 15, 2023: Before sunrise, brilliant Venus approaches Zubenelgenubi, the Scorpion’s southern claw. The crescent moon returns to the western evening sky.