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.
December 28, 2021: The Great Andromeda Galaxy is nearly overhead at the end of the evening twilight.
December 29, 2021: The morning crescent moon approaches Scorpius and Mars. In the evening sky, four evening planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are lined up in the southwest. Venus is rapidly leaving the evening sky.
November 28, 2021: During twilight this evening, the three bright evening planets – Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter – are on parade in the southwestern sky.
December 28, 2021: Brilliant Venus is quickly slipping from the evening sky. Mercury appears beneath Venus after sunset. This duo is joined by Jupiter and Saturn. In the morning, Mars is near Antares and the moon near Spica.
December 27, 2021: The Red Planet Mars passes Antares this morning before sunrise. At the same hour, the moon is near Spica. The three bright planets – Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter – are in the evening sky.