A month of great planet-viewing comes to its conclusion this week as Jupiter, Saturn, and the moon have close encounters over the next two nights.
The night of August 28, the moon and Jupiter will have a conjunction, appearing to come together in the night sky. Saturn will also be there, forming an occaionally awkward triangle of celestial objects overhead. The next night, it’s Saturn’s turn to take center stage as it has a conjunction with the moon. The two gas giants are easily visible with the naked eye under clear skies.
On Friday, the waxing moon will shine bright under the largest planet in our solar system just after dark in the south-southwest sky. Just to the left of that pair, you’ll find the ringed planet. Right now, Jupiter is the second brightest planet in the sky, having passed its brightest point of the year back in July. It is only dimmer than Venus, which you’ll only find in the morning sky.
The moon will sit just under Jupiter, about two finger-widths (1°24′) apart, and they’re close enough together that they could be viewed with binoculars, per In the Sky.
The following night, you’re looking to the south to find the trio acting like old pals again. Though Saturn isn’t as bright as Jupiter, so it may not appear until about an hour or so after sunset. If you can grab a telescope, you’ll be able to get a glimpse of Saturn’s rings. This night, the moon will be 2°12′ to the lower left of Saturn, according to In the Sky. This pair will also be visible through binoculars.
A conjunction or appulse with Jupiter and Saturn is a great night to be out stargazing because they’re so bright you can see them from most cities. You don’t have to wind your way out to a rural area like you do when you’re watching meteor showers. Though, if you do, you’ll certainly be able to see a whole lot more glimmering in the night sky.
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World news – THAT – Saturn, Jupiter & the Moon Form a Triangle in the Sky This Weekend. Here’s How to See It.