2020, December 9: Jupiter Advances Toward Saturn, Mars in East

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

December 9, 2020: The Great Conjunction countdown: 12 days.  Jupiter and Saturn are now 1.0° as the seemingly slow-motion conjunction continues to unfold in the southwestern sky.  Farther east, rusty Mars is moving eastward in Pisces with noticeable nightly changes.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

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

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 7:07 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:20 p.m. CST.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

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

The Great Conjunction of 2020 is 12 days away! One hour after sunset, Saturn is less that a quarter of the way up in the sky in the southwest.  Brighter Jupiter is 1.0° to the lower right of Saturn.  The change is noticeable as the conjunction draws near.

2020, December 9: Mars moves eastward in Pisces. It is 1.6° to the lower left of Epsilon Piscium (ε Psc), 1.0° to the upper right of Zeta Piscium (ζ Psc), and 2.0° to the upper left of 80 Piscium (80 Psc).

Bright Mars is in the southeast, about halfway up in the sky as night falls.  The planet continues to move eastward among the dim stars of Pisces.

With a binocular note that it above an imaginary line that connects Epsilon Piscium (ε Psc on the chart) and Zeta Piscium (ζ Psc).

2020, December 9: Mars is 1.6° to the lower left of Epsilon Piscium (ε Psc), 1.0° to the upper right of Zeta Piscium (ζ Psc), and 2.0° to the upper left of 80 Piscium (80 Psc).

Read about Mars during December.

Detailed note: One hour after sunset, Saturn is nearly 18° up in the southwest, 1.0° to the upper left of brighter Jupiter.  The Jovian Giant continues to close the gap with the Ringed Wonder.  Great Conjunction Countdown: 12 days. Mars is farther east, less than halfway up in the sky above the southeast horizon on a line that connects ε Psc and ζ Psc.  The Red Planet is 1.6° to the lower left of ε Psc, 1.0° to the upper right of ζ Psc, and 2.0° to the upper left of 80 Psc. Use a binocular to spot the planet with the stars.

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

Read more about the planets during December.

2021, July 6: Venus, Mars Final Approach

July 6, 2021:  In less than a week, brilliant Venus passes Mars in the west-northwestern sky after sunset.  This evening the two planets are 3.8° apart.  Venus is over 18° to the lower right of the star Regulus.

2021, July 1- 7, Morning Moon

July 1 – July 7, 2021, the waning crescent appears in the eastern sky.  Early in the viewing period, the moon is among the dim stars of Pisces.  As the week progresses, the moon wanes and moves farther eastward, appearing near Taurus.

2021, July 5: Earth at Aphelion

July 5, 2021:  Our planet Earth reaches its farthest point in its yearly trek around the sun.  Our seasons are not related to Earth’s distance from the sun.  Coincidentally, the moon is at its farthest point from Earth today.

2021, July 4: Venus Aims at Mars

July 4, 2021: The Venus – Mars conjunction is eight days away.  This evening Venus moves to within 5° of the Red Planet.



Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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