Backyard Observatory

Saturn, Jupiter & the Moon Form a Triangle in the Sky This Weekend. Here's How to See It.

For the second time this month, the moon will have back-to-back conjunctions with Saturn and Jupiter.

The core of the Milky Way in Sagittarius low in the south over the Frenchman River valley at Grasslands National Park. The globular cluster M55 is visible at far left. Jupiter is bright at right above reddish Antares, Saturn is dimmer at left, to the left of the globular cluster M22. | Alan Dyer/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
The core of the Milky Way in Sagittarius low in the south over the Frenchman River valley at Grasslands National Park. The globular cluster M55 is visible at far left. Jupiter is bright at right above reddish Antares, Saturn is dimmer at left, to the left of the globular cluster M22. | Alan Dyer/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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. 

Ready to go stargazing?

Here are all the best stargazing events that you can get out and see this month or you could stay in a stream the northern lights from home. If you're just getting started, check out our guide to astronomy for beginners

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.