The Moon Shines with Jupiter and Saturn
The week of lunar observations continues! Let’s find out how and when to see the Moon as it passes near both Jupiter and Saturn this week.
On Thursday, the almost half-illuminated moon will be located a finger’s width from Jupiter. The moon and Jupiter will easily fit together within the field of view of binoculars or a backyard telescope at low magnification. Bright Jupiter sits below the stars of Ophiuchus (the Serpent-Bearer) and above Scorpius (the Scorpion).
This conjunction will offer an excellent opportunity to see Jupiter in the daytime, too - using the moon as a reference. In mid-afternoon, Jupiter will be directly below the moon. It will appear as a tiny bright point of light to your unaided eyes, a tiny disk in binoculars. Telescopes will work, too! Later, in the evening, the moon will have moved slightly farther away from Jupiter, and will sit to the upper left (or to the celestial northeast) of it.
The moon has one more planet to visit before the week is done. On Saturday, look for yellowish Saturn sitting less than two finger widths to the upper right (or to the celestial northwest) of the moon. The moon and Saturn will fit together into the field of view of binoculars and backyard telescopes at low magnification. Observers in southern Africa will get to see the moon occult Saturn. The ringed planet will be visible above the southern horizon from dusk until about midnight among the stars of Sagittarius (the Archer).
Keep looking up and enjoy the sky with Star Walk 2!