2020, December 24: Jupiter, Saturn Gap Widens

Jupiter and Saturn, December 24, 2020
2020, December 24: The Jupiter – Saturn gap is 0.3°, triple the separation from 3 evenings ago. Jupiter is 2.0° to the lower right of Sigma Capricorni (σ Cap).

December 24, 2020:  Jupiter and Saturn continue to shine together in the west after sunset.  The Jupiter – Saturn gap widens each evening.  The gibbous moon and Mars are in the southeast after sunset.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 7:16 a.m. CST; Sunset, 4:25 p.m. CST.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.

In the evening sky, Jupiter continues to inch away from Saturn.  This evening’s gap is 0.3°.  It’s still narrow, but the change is easily observed.  Jupiter is moving eastward faster than Saturn, in front of the starry background.

Look for them low in the sky from about 45 minutes after sunset until about 90 minutes after local sunset before they disappear below the southwestern horizon.

Mars and Moon, December 24, 2020
2020, December 24: In the southeast after sunset, the gibbous moon is nearly 13° to the lower left of Mars.

Meanwhile, farther east, the gibbous moon is about 13° to the lower left of the moon in the southeast as night falls.  The chart above shows an exaggerated view of the sky with many stars in the region of Mars and the moon.  To see them, a binocular is necessary to see the stars with the bright moonlight.

Read about Mars during December.

Detailed note:  In the evening sky, the Jupiter – Saturn gap has grown to 0.3°. Jupiter is to Saturn’s upper left.  In the starfield, Jupiter is 2.0° to the lower right of σ Cap and 6.2° to the upper left of 56 Sgr.  One hour after sunset, Jupiter is nearly 11° in altitude in the southwest.  The moon (10.3d, 77%) is nearly halfway up in the east-southeast, nearly 13° to the lower left of Mars.

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

RECENT ARTICLES

Venus and Jupiter in the morning sky, July 21, 2012

2022, June 28: Morning Planets

June 28, 2022: Four bright morning planets are easy to spot before sunrise.  Mercury is a challenge to spot, making it five worlds if you can see it.

Keep reading
Crescent Moon, Venus, Aldebaran, July 17, 2020

2022, June 27:  Mercury, Moon Conjunction, Rare Planet Alignment Ending

June 27, 2022: The crescent moon is near elusive Mercury before sunrise.  Not until 2100, will the five bright planets appear in order from the sun.

Keep reading
Venus and crescent Moon, November 12, 2020

2022, June 26:  Spectacular Venus, Moon Conjunction, Morning Planet Parade

June 26, 2022:  Morning Star Venus and the lunar crescent are in conjunction this morning in the east-northeast before daybreak.  The rare morning planet parade of the five planets is quickly breaking up.

Keep reading


Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: