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2020, December 8-14: Jupiter on Final Approach

Jupiter and Saturn, November 11, 2020

2020, November 11: Jupiter is over 23° up in the south-southwest. Saturn is 4.1° to Jupiter’s upper left. The giant planet pair is near 56 Sgr. Jupiter is 3.1° to the lower right of the star, while Saturn is 2.4° to the star’s lower left. Jupiter is 2.5° to the upper left of 50 Sgr.

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2020, December 8-14: Jupiter begins its final approach to Saturn as a prelude to the Great Conjunction on December 21, 2020.

2020, December 8: One hour after sunset, Jupiter is 1.1° to the lower right of Saturn. The planets are in the southwest.

Jupiter and Saturn are found in the southwest after sunset. Begin looking as night falls, about 45 minutes after sunset. Jupiter is the bright star, about one-fourth of the way up in the sky above the southwest horizon. The observing window is good for about the next 90 minutes, but Jupiter gets lower in the sky. The pair sets about 3 hours after sunset.

Saturn is dimmer than Jupiter, but brighter than the other stars in region. The Ringed Wonder is to the upper left of the Jovian Giant.

During the week, Jupiter nearly cuts the gap to Saturn in half, from 1.1° to 0.7°

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

2020, December 9: One hour after sunset, Jupiter is 1.0° to the lower right of Saturn.

2020, December 10: In the southwest after sunset, bright Jupiter is 1.0° to the lower right of Saturn.

2020, December 11: About an hour after sunset, Jupiter can be found low in the southwest. Jupiter is 1.0° to the lower right of Saturn.

2020, December 12: One hour after sunset, Jupiter and Saturn are in the southwest. The Jupiter – Saturn gap is 0.9°.

2020, December 13: One hour after sunset, Jupiter is 0.8° to the lower right of Saturn. Find them low in the southwestern sky.

2020, December 14: Jupiter is in the southwest after sunset, 0.7° to the lower right of Saturn.

2022, January 6: Mercury Nears Greatest Elongation

January 6, 2022:  Planet Mercury nears its evening greatest elongation.  It appears in the evening sky, with a crescent moon, Jupiter, and Saturn.  Venus sets soon after sundown.  Mars is in the southeast before sunup.

2022, January 5:  Jupiter – Evening Moon, Morning Mars

January 5, 2022: Jupiter and the crescent are 5.5° in the evening sky.  Look for Mercury and Saturn with the planet-moon duo.  Earlier, Venus is low in the west-southwest.  Before sunrise, Mars is near Antares.

2022, January 4: Earth at Perihelion

January 4, 2022:  Earth is at perihelion today – it’s closest point to the sun.  Mars is a morning planet, while the evening planet pack – Venus, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter – and the crescent moon are in the southwest after sundown.

2022, January 3: Venus – Moon Conjunction

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.

2021, December 30:  Sirius at Midnight

December 30, 2021:  As the year ends and the new one opens, the night sky’s brightest star – Sirius – is in the southern sky at the midnight hour.

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