Backyard Observatory

Jupiter, Saturn, & the Moon Will Form a Tight Triangle Tonight. Here's How to See It.

Get ready to see the two biggest planets in the solar system dance with the moon.

Jupiter saturn moon close pass
Alan Dyer/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

August was a great month to see Jupiter, Saturn, and the moon make like The Beatles and come together in the night sky. (And, you know, ultimately go their separate ways.) There were conjunctions and appulses -- a close pass -- between one of the gas giants and the moon on back-to-back nights twice during one of the best stargazing months. 

Prepare to be spoiled like Violet Beauregarde because it's happening again this month on the night of September 25. We'll see a bit more of this interaction as the three objects head toward the great conjunction in December. However, unlike last month, the close encounter between Jupiter and the moon and the one between Saturn and the moon are happening just hours apart, making for a tight triangle formation featuring a pair of appulses you can catch in a single night.

And yes, you clever Facebook commenters will note that any three points will form a triangle, but we're talking about a close group that will form a very visible triangle across the black of the sky.

The moment of conjunction, per In the Sky, will be while the sun is still up. So, you'll be seeing their closest visible approach almost as soon as they rise in the south. Both Saturn and Jupiter are among the brightest objects in the night sky, so they'll be some of the first things visible as the sun sets.

That early portion of the night will be the best time to take a look, as both Jupiter and Saturn will be near their highest point in the sky pretty early in the night. They'll remain visible until right around midnight, with Jupiter sinking below the horizon first. 

The trio will be very close together, but far enough apart you won't be able to catch them all together through a telescope. Try looking through binoculars to get the best view. Though, of course, all three objects are visible with the naked eye, so you can just step out the door in your bathrobe and look to the south with authority to find what you're looking for. 

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 or easy stargazing road trips from big US cities

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