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.
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.
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