Jupiter, Saturn & the Moon Will Get Close in the Night Sky on Friday

The trio will form a close-knit triangle in the night sky.

jupiter saturn moon
Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

It's been a good time to step out at night and look for Jupiter. As NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory mentioned earlier in the month, "August is perhaps the best time this year to enjoy viewing Jupiter and Saturn." August 20, however, will be an exceptional night to look for Jupiter as it sits alongside Saturn and the moon.

The night of August 20 into the morning of August 21, the two gas giants will be sitting very close to the nearly full moon. Astronomy notes that you might see Saturn and the moon just 4.5 degrees apart from each other early in the evening. 

The planets will rise in the southeastern sky around sunset, with Jupiter becoming visible just as the sun goes down. The moon will sit just below Saturn. You'll be able to see the trio in a tight formation throughout the night.

The night before, Jupiter will have reached opposition. It'll be at or near the brightest you're going to see it this year, adding to the special sight. Saturn reached opposition earlier in August. So, they'll both be up for a long time and looking pretty bright. 

If you happen to have a telescope handy, it's a good opportunity to see Saturn's rings as well. But you don't need a telescope. The planets will be visible to the naked eye, and it'll be a beautiful sight.

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

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.