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.
January 3, 2022: The moon passes Venus for the final time of this evening appearance of Venus. As night falls, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter are visible in the southwest. Mars is in the southeast before sunrise.
December 31, 2021: This morning before sunup, the thin waning crescent moon appears near Mars and the star Antares. Four planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are on parade in the southwest after sundown.
December 30, 2021: The morning crescent moon seems to be captured in the Scorpion’s pincers to the upper right of Mars. Four Evening Planets – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – are in the southwest after sundown.