Jupiter closes in on Saturn as a prelude to the December 21, 2020 Great Conjunction. During the week look for them in the southwest after sunset. Jupiter is the brightest star in the region. Saturn is to the Jovian Giant’s upper left. Jupiter sets around 7:30 p.m. CST, about 3 hours after sunset for other locations.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
As the Great Conjunction of 2020 approaches, Jupiter and Saturn are visible in the southwest after sunset during early December.
Jupiter reduces the separation between the planets in the sky by about 0.5°, about the apparent diameter of the full moon.
For more about the Great Conjunction, read our feature article. This is the closest Jupiter – Saturn conjunction since 1623.
Here is more about the planets during December 2020.
The planets are slowly moving eastward in Sagittarius, in front of several dim stars.
Jupiter is slowly over taking Saturn.
Jupiter sets around 7:30 p.m. CST, about 3 hours after sunset. Check your local sunset time and look for the pair of planets beginning about 45 minutes after sundown until they are very low in the west, about 2 hours after sunset.
February 18, 2021: The moon, waxing toward its First Quarter moon phase, is high in the southwest after sunset. Planet Mars is 3.8° to the upper right of the moon. Mars is parading eastward compared to the starry background in eastern Aries as it heads toward the Taurus border.