2020, October 4: Jupiter, Saturn Evening Planets

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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.

2021, April 25: Mercury-Venus Conjunction, Mars, Bright Moon

April 25, 2021: Mercury passes Evening Star Venus this evening after sunset.  Look low in the western sky about 20 minutes after sunset.  Mars is marching eastward in Gemini, near the star cluster Messier 35.  The bright moon is near Spica.

2021, April 24: Evening Star, Bright Mercury, Venus, Mars, Gibbous Moon

April 24, 2021:  Brilliant Evening Star Venus and bright Mercury are entering the evening sky.  They are low in the west-northwest during evening twilight.  The bright moon is in the southeast in Virgo.  Mars moves into Gemini as it approaches the star cluster Messier 35.

2021, April 24: Lunar Occultation, Morning Planets, Jupiter Saturn

April 24, 2021:  The bright gibbous moon is near a star in Virgo during the early morning.  From parts of the Western Hemisphere, the moon covers the star.  Before sunrise, bright morning planets, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.

2021, April 23: Evening Star Venus, Mercury, Mars, Moon

April 23, 2021: Evening Star Venus and Mercury are entering the evening sky.  They are found very low in the west-northwest after sunset.  The bright moon is in the southeastern sky during the early evening.  Mars is moving toward the star cluster Messier 35.



Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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