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.
April 20, 2021: Venus is very low in the west-northwest after sunset. The gibbous moon is in Cancer, between Regulus and Pollux. Mars, above the horns of Taurus, approaches the star cluster Messier 35.
April 20, 2021: Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky before sunrise, gently moving eastward compared to the starry backdrop of Capricornus.
April 19, 2021: The first evening appearance of Venus for this apparition occurs this evening. Look for it low in the west-northwest about 20 minutes after sunset.
April 19, 2021: Venus begins to appear in the west after sunset. The moon lines up with Pollux and Castor, while Mars is above Bull’s horns in the western evening sky.
April 19, 2021: The bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are in the southeastern sky before sunrise. Capricornus is the starry background for this giant planet duo.