Backyard Observatory

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

A pair of conjunctions within 24 hours of each other is making for a beautiful formation in the early-evening sky.

jupiter saturn moon conjunction
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

July was an incredible month for stargazers. August won't have such an intense barrage of events, but you're going to start the month with a beautiful encounter between the moon, Saturn, and Jupiter

The night of August 1, the nearly-full moon and the two gas giants will form a triangle in the sky. The shape of that triangle is going to be a little different for everyone, based on where they're located. The formation will be the result of a couple of conjunctions, which is when the planet shares the same right ascension with the moon. 

Jupiter will pass within one-and-a-half-degrees of the moon, according to In the Sky. The two objects will be in conjunction at 7:32pm EDT, but that's before sunset. Because of that timing, you're probably not going to be able to spot them at the moment of conjunction. Nonetheless, they'll still be close together when they appear early in the evening. 

Saturn, which is also relatively bright and the third corner of the triangle, will be visible early as well. Both planets will rise before the sun sets, so they'll be visible early in the evening as the sky starts to darken. They'll stay up almost until sunrise. 

On August 2, the moon and Saturn will reach conjunction, but it's going to happen at about 9:08am EDT in New York (and close to that time elsewhere). The moment of conjunction won't be visible because its daytime, but the three celestial bodies will be visible near each other again the night of August 2, one night before the moon is full. If you get out to dark skies, you may even see some meteors from the Delta Aquarids or Perseids zip past. In the opposite part of the sky from the conjunction, you might be able to spot Comet NEOWISE as it starts to fade in the northwest 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.