Before the winter's grand conjunction, Jupiter and Saturn will glow intensely in the southern sky. They stand out because they are now in a very lonely night sky region. But the moon and bright star Antares will join them on successive evenings this week.

 Go Skywatching This Week As the Moon Creeps Up to Saturn, Jupiter When They Take the Spotlight
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
The crescent moon (bottom) with Jupiter and Saturn (top) 47 minutes after sunset and five days before the planetary great conjunction which took place on the winter solstice, 21 December 2020.

When and How To Watch Jupiter, Saturn, and Moon in Night Sky

Space.com said the group would show up on evenings from October 13 to 15, with the finest night falling smack in the midpoint. Jupiter and Saturn are still close together. But there is still some gap compared to the grand conjunction in December when the two were nearly on top of each other. 

The moon will be closer to them the first night rather than directly above. It will be directly to the right of Saturn, which will be directly to the right of Jupiter. They'll be a bit closer together on the nights of October 14 and 15, making a tiny triangle in the sky. (A triangle can be formed by any three points, but these three will be near together.) Meanwhile, EarthSky said on October 14, the moon will sit between and below the two planets, getting as near as four degrees to Saturn.

They can be seen in the southern sky just after sunset. When the sun's brightness has diminished, Saturn and Jupiter will be easy to view. According to In the Sky, Saturn will be visible until around an hour after midnight local time. Jupiter will continue to shine for another hour.

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The three will be easily identifiable, Thrillist said, by just looking for the moon. You will see Saturn and Jupiter as the two bright "stars" nearby. Jupiter will have a brighter appearance than Saturn. It's the brightest object in the night sky right now, except the moon. It shines brighter than any star, making it easy to spot. Saturn appears somewhat yellow in the northern hemisphere, just to the right of Jupiter.

The brilliant star Fomalhaut may also be seen in the same region. Its brilliance, however, pales in comparison to Jupiter and Saturn. Nonetheless, even beyond the eye-catching configuration you'll see this week, there's much to see up in the sky.

Bonus: Antares To Quickly Join

Unlike this week's grouping of Saturn, Jupiter, and the moon, another Thrillist report said that Venus and Antares would be almost on top of each other. Venus isn't shining brightly right now, but it's still visible. If you need help finding your way around the world, an app like SkyView can help.

According to EarthSky, Antares will fall below the horizon for the season not long after this conjunction. It won't be seen again for months.

Here are all of the greatest stargazing activities happening this month from the comfort of your own home. Check out Thrillist's beginner's guide to astronomy or easy stargazing road trips from major US cities if you're just getting started.

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Check out more news and information on Space in Science Times.