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.
November 3, 2021: Before sunrise speedy planet Mercury, the crescent moon, and the star Spica are grouped together. The trio does not appear this close together again until 2033.
October 31, 2021: There is no Halloween Full moon this year, and the phase is not close. The crescent moon is in the morning sky. Mercury is low in the east-southeast before sunrise. The planet pack – Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter – gleam in the evening sky.
October 29, 2021: Venus reaches its greatest elongation from the sun. It is in the evening sky with Jupiter and Saturn. The crescent moon and Mercury are in the eastern sky before sunrise.
October 29 – November 1, 2021: The crescent moon moves in front of the stars of Leo in the eastern sky before sunrise. Watch the moon appear lower and the phase shrink (wane) each morning. Also note that there is no Full moon on Halloween this year!
October 26, 27, and 28, 2021: During the early morning hours, the bright gibbous moon appears in front of Gemini’s stars.