Backyard Observatory

Saturn, Jupiter & the Moon Form a Triangle in the Sky Ahead of the Great Conjunction

The pair of planets is headed toward an amazing sight only visible once every 20 years.

jupiter saturn moon conjunction
Alan Dyer/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The sky is spoiling you. We've gotten used to getting an unmissable show from Jupiter, Saturn, and the moon once a month. The gas giants have had conjunctions with the moon just hours apart from each, forming a beautiful, tight triangle in the night sky. Yes, any three points can make a triangle, but this bright combination has been eye-catching and unmistakable. That trinity of lights will do it again this week, just about a month from the two planets having their great conjunction. 

The trio will come together on the night of November 19. Jupiter and the moon will have a conjunction—an event where they share the same right ascension and come close together—mere hours before Saturn and the moon have one in the evening, keeping all three in close proximity throughout their short stay in the Thursday evening sky. 

Unfortunately, you'll only have a short amount of time to catch the trio in the sky once the sun sets. (Though, the sun sets so miserably early in the US right now that you don't have to stay up late to see the spectacle.) Both planets are quite bright and visible from inside cities despite the light pollution that renders the majority of the night sky invisible. Jupiter and Saturn will be visible in the south-southwest as the sun fades. They'll only remain up until just after 8:30 pm local time. Jupiter will set at 8:38 pm, and Saturn will go down at 8:57 pm, according to In the Sky.

This is another step toward the once-in-20-years great conjunction between our solar system's two largest planets. On December 21, they'll be only 0.1 degrees apart. It'll be an amazing sight, but so are the little formations you can see with the naked eye along the way, like the triangle on the night of November 19.

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 Dustin Nelson on Twitter.