Saturn, Jupiter & the Moon Will Form a Small Triangle in the Sky This Week
The three celestial objects will sit in close proximity for a couple of nights this week.
Though the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn is far behind us, the gassy duo are still following each other across the dome of the sky. Both planets hit opposition in August, which was a great month to be out looking for them.
But it's not too late if you didn't spend time stargazing last month. The planets are still relatively close together, even if they're nowhere near as close as they were in December 2020. From September 15 to 17, you can see them have a close encounter with the moon, forming an awkward triangle in the southern sky. The gas giants will be about 15 degrees apart, per Space.com. That is about one and a half times the length of your fist held out at arm's length. They'll each have a night over that stretch of three days where they're much closer than that to the moon.
On these nights, you'll see the pair in the sky starting at sunset and hanging around until after midnight. The moon and Jupiter will have their closest pass the night of September 17. The moon will sit just under and to the right of Jupiter, with Saturn sitting a little further to the right, as noted by EarthSky.
The night before—September 16—the moon will sit just under Saturn as that pair has a conjunction. On all three nights, however, you'll find the moon almost full and close to these bright planets. Space.com notes that the moon and Saturn will be just close enough together that they can be viewed simultaneously through binoculars.
The trio will be easy to track down in the south-southeast sky. Look for the moon. Jupiter and Saturn will be the two brightest points of light in the area. So, dust off the binoculars in the closet and put them to good use this week.
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, the best meteor showers of 2021, or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities.