2020, August 12: Jupiter, Saturn Evening Stars

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2020, August 12: Saturn is 8.1° to the lower left of the Giant Planet. In the starfield, Jupiter is 1.4° to the right of 50 Sagittarii (50 Sgr), while Saturn is 2.4° to the lower left of 56 Sagittarii (56 Sgr).

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.

Then Jupiter approaches Saturn for a once-in-a-generation Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020.  This is the closest conjunction since 1623.

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.

2021, May 18: Planet Quintet, Waxing Moon

May 18, 2021: Bright morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.  After sunset, Evening Star Venus, Mercury, and Mars are lined up in the western sky.  The thick crescent moon is higher near Regulus.

2021, May 17: Planets, Moon Line Up

May 17, 2021: The five bright planets – Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, and Mars – are visible in night sky.  Jupiter and Saturn are in the morning.  Evening Star Venus, Mercury and Mars are in the evening sky with the crescent moon.

2021, May 16: Lunar Occultation, Mercury Best!

May 16, 2021: The moon occults a star in Gemini this evening, and Mercury reaches its greatest separation from the sun.  Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.  After sunset, Evening Star Venus, Mercury, Mars, and the lunar crescent are lined up above the western horizon.

2021, May 15: Planets on Review

May 15, 2021: Five planets and the crescent moon are visible today.  Morning Planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.  Brilliant Evening Star Venus, Mercury – on its best evening appearance of the year, Mars, and the crescent moon are in the western sky after sunset.

2021, May 14: Planets on Parade

May 14, 2021:  Five planets are on parade.  Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.  After sundown, brilliant Evening Star Venus, Mercury, Mars, and the lunar crescent are in the evening sky.



Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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