After the sky cleared today, the International Space Station made a bright pass across the mid-northern latitude states this evening near Jupiter and Saturn in the sky. The ISS was brighter than the planet Jupiter.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
The International Space Station passes Jupiter and Saturn this evening as seen across the Midwest. A clearing sky permitted viewing this evening. At its brightest, the ISS was easily brighter than Jupiter.
As for the planets, Jupiter is 8.0° to the right of Saturn. Jupiter passes Saturn in a Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020. This is the closest conjunction since the Jupiter – Saturn conjunction of 1623. Great Conjunctions occur every 19.6 years, but this is the closest for nearly 400 years.
Before Jupiter passes Saturn in our sky, Jupiter edges past Saturn as viewed on the solar system’s scale in what is known as a heliocentric conjunction. This occurs on November 2.
Continue to look for Jupiter and Saturn each evening. During the next several weeks, watch Jupiter close the gap to Saturn.
Here is a daily summary about the planets during September.
February 6, 2021: Before sunrise, look east-southeast for the waning crescent moon. It is 4.5° to the upper left of Antares – the rival of Mars.
During February 2021, Mars parades eastward in the dim starfield of Aries and moves into Taurus, nearing a March conjunction with the Pleiades star cluster.
On February 11, 2021: Venus passes Jupiter during the daytime in a spectacular proximate conjunction.