2023, August 3: Saturn-Moon Conjunction, Morning’s Jupiter


August 3, 2023: The moon passes Saturn before daybreak.  Bright Jupiter shines from the southeast during morning twilight.

Photo Caption – 2012, March 28: Venus, Jupiter, Pleiades


by Jeffrey L. Hunt

Chicago, Illinois:  Sunrise, 5:46 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 8:07 p.m. CDT.  Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times.

Summaries of Current Sky Events

Here is today’s planet forecast:

Morning Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, August 3: The moon passes Saturn in the southwestern sky before sunrise.

Saturn, nearing its opposition later this month, is low in the southwest during morning twilight, 3.5° to the upper right of the bright gibbous moon that is 96% illuminated.  This follows their nearly all-night westward cruise.

The Ringed Wonder is retrograding, appearing to move westward against the background stars, in front of Aquarius, but the pattern’s stars are largely washed out by the bright moonlight.

Look for Fomalhaut, the mouth of the Southern Fish, over 15° to the lower left of the lunar orb.

Chart Caption – 2023, August 3: Bright Jupiter is in the southeast during morning twilight.

At this hour, bright Jupiter is over halfway up in the southeast before daybreak. It is moving eastward in front of Aries, 12.8° to the lower left of Hamal, the constellation’s brightest star, and 11.4° to the upper left of Menkar, Cetus’ nostril.

Jupiter first appears above the eastern horizon about six hours before the sun rises. At 2:28 a.m. CDT, when Jupiter is 30° up, the Great Red Spot, is at the center of the planet in the southern hemisphere through a telescope.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2023, August 3: Three hours after sundown, Saturn and the gibbous moon are in the east-southeast.

Venus, Mercury, and Mars are in bright twilight after sunset.  Brilliant Venus is nearing inferior conjunction, August 13th, when it passes between Earth and Sun and moves into the morning sky.

Mercury nears its greatest elongation, setting sixty-four minutes after sundown.  The planet is dimming each evening. Thirty minutes after sunset, it is less than 6° above the western horizon.

Mars is completely washed out by the sun’s lingering light. While it sets about ninety minutes after nightfall, it is dim and essentially invisible for conventional viewing.

Saturn rises about an hour after sunset, followed by the moon, 91% illuminated, about thirty-five minutes later. During the night as they seem to move westward, from Earth’s rotation, the moon slowly moves eastward against the starry background opening a larger gap to the Ringed Wonder.



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