2020, October 4: Jupiter, Saturn Evening Planets

Jupiter and Saturn in Sagittarius, October 4, 2020.
Bright Jupiter is 7.1° to Saturn’s lower right. In the starfield, Saturn is 1.7° to the lower left of 56 Sagittarii (56 Sgr), while Jupiter is 2.6° to the lower left of Pi Sagittarii (π Sgr) and 2.1° to the lower right of 50 Sagittarii (50 Sgr).

Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the south during the early evening hours of October.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Bright Jupiter and Saturn are in the southern sky as the sky darkens after sunset during early October.

Both planets are slowly moving eastward in front of the stars of eastern Sagittarius, before their Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020.  Such groupings occur once every 19.6 years.

For more about the Great Conjunction, read our feature article. This is the closest Jupiter – Saturn conjunction since 1623.

In a month (November 2, 2020), the two planets have a heliocentric conjunction.  As viewed from the sun, the two planets are lined up, but they are still far apart as seen from the skies of Earth.

Jupiter is 7.1° to the lower right of Saturn.

On the image above, three stars are identified, Pi Sagittarii (π Sgr on the photo), 56 Sagittarii (56 Sgr) and 50 Sagittarii (50 Sgr).  Use a binocular to observe the planets slowly move compared to the starfield.  Jupiter moves away from π Sgr and toward 50 Sgr.  Saturn slowly inches eastward (to the left on the photo) compared to 56 Sgr.

The motion is slow-moving and the anticipatory approach of Jupiter toward Saturn has been occurring since they emerged from the sun’s glare in the morning sky last winter.

Jupiter is now closing in on the Ringed Wonder.

Read more about the planets during October.

Moon in the Bull's Horns. October 8, 2020

2021, August 14: Waxing Moon, Stellar Double

August 14, 2021: This evening the waxing moon is near Zubenelgenubi, the southern claw, that is a stellar double.  Use a binocular to see both stars that are in a gravitation dance.

Moon and Venus, August 15, 2020

2021, August 13: Evening Sky, Bright Planets

August 13, 2021: This evening the crescent moon appears between Evening Star Venus and Spica as the lunar slice dances eastward.  Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeastern sky.

The crescent moon, November 19, 2020

2021, August 12: Evening Sky, Lunar Dance

August 12, 2021: This evening the crescent moon appears between Venus and Spica as the lunar slice dances eastward.

2021, May 13: The crescent moon is 3.2° to the upper left of Mercury.

2021, August 11: Waxing Moon, Evening Star

August 11, 2021:  The waxing crescent moon is to the upper left of Evening Star Venus this evening in the western sky.

The Crescent Moon, November 16, 2020

2021, August 10: Evening Star Venus, Crescent Moon

August 10, 2021:  The crescent moon is near Venus in the western sky after sunset.



Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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