Two massive planets of the Solar System, Jupiter, and Saturn will offer an incredible view this week. The planets will snuggle up in the predawn sky, and those who are willing to watch such an event must wake up early in the morning.
Jupiter and Saturn approached on May 18, when they were separated by only 4.7 degrees. But the cosmic pair will remain close for the rest of the month. You can view them in the hours between midnight and sunrise.
Jupiter and Saturn Are in the Spotlight This Month
Jupiter will get closer to the constellation Sagittarius, the archer, glowing at magnitude -2.5, and it will be the brightest planet in the predawn sky. But Venus will be brighter, shining at magnitude -4.2, rising for almost an hour after sunrise.
As for Saturn, it will stand to Jupiter’s left, shining at magnitude 0.3 in the Capricornus constellation. We can see them with the naked eye or a pair of binoculars. Due to the ample space between them, they won’t fit in a telescope.
Both planets will continue to offer a spectacular view shortly after midnight all week long. Also, as the duo will rise higher in the sky, they will put on a more fabulous show until the increasing light of dawn kicks in. If you want to catch them better, adjust your eyes to the darkness for 20 minutes, and try to ignore the artificial light. Use a red filter on your phone if you want to use a star chart.
It’s typical for the moon and the planets to become closer in the night sky because all of them move on the same path in the Universe, known as the ecliptic. But, even if the planets are very close in, their meeting isn’t described as conjunction every time. To be in conjunction, two cosmic features must also have the same celestial longitude. Given that, both Jupiter and Saturn came into conjunction with Earth’s moon last week.