Astronomy

2020, September 25: Saturn and Moon

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September 25: One hour after sunset, the moon is 3.7° to the lower left of Saturn.

During early evening hours of September 25, the moon appears near Saturn in the southern sky.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

During the evening hours of September 25, the moon appears 3.7° to the lower left of Saturn.  The gibbous moon is over 70% illuminated.

2020, September 25: The gibbous moon (overexposed in the photo) appears 3.7° to the lower left of Saturn. Jupiter is 7.6° to the lower right of Saturn.

Jupiter is 7.6° to the lower right of Saturn. 

As seen from the sun, Jupiter passes Saturn in a heliocentric conjunction on November 2. This is a prelude to the Great Conjunction on December 21, when Jupiter passes very closely to Saturn. While the planetary pair appears close in the sky, they are hundreds of millions of miles apart in space.

A Great Conjunction occurs every 19.6 years. The last one occurred in 2000. The next Jupiter – Saturn conjunction occurs October 31, 2040, when the two planets rise into the eastern morning sky. The gap is 1.1°. At this year’s conjunction, the two planets appear ten times closer.

While other conjunctions have occurred, this year’s conjunction is the closest Jupiter – Saturn conjunction since 1623.  That year’s conjunction occurred after the invention of the telescope and during very bright evening twilight.  Read our article about whether it was observed.

Read more about the planets during September and October.

2020, December 5: Morning Star Venus, Gibbous Moon, Evening Planets

During morning twilight brilliant Morning Star Venus shines from low in the east-southeast before sunrise as it steps eastward in front of the stars of Virgo. The gibbous moon lies in front of the stars of Cancer, between Leo and Gemini. In the evening sky. Jupiter continues to dance toward Saturn in a prelude to the Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020. In the east-southeast, Mars marches eastward among the dim stars of Pisces.

2020, December 4: Morning Star Venus, Gibbous Moon, Evening Planet Dance

In the morning sky brilliant Morning Star Venus waltzes through Libra near Zubenelgenubi in the east-southeast. Venus is “that bright star” in the eastern sky before sunrise. The bright gibbous moon shines near the Gemini Twins in the western sky. In the evening sky, Mars – in the east-southeast – marches through Pisces. Jupiter closes the gap on Saturn as a prelude dance to the Great Conjunction, 17 evenings away.

2020, December 3: Morning Star Venus in East, Evening Planet Dance

Brilliant Morning Star Venus waltzes eastward among the stars of Libra. It is near the star Zubenelgenubi. Farther west, the bright gibbous moon is near the middle of Gemini beneath the Twins. In the evening, Mars dances eastward among the dim stars of Pisces. Jupiter closes the gap on Saturn as a prelude dance to the Great Conjunction, 18 evenings away.

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