Saturn, Jupiter And The Moon Will Be Visible As They Align This Weekend
If you’re looking for the perfect stargazing opportunity this weekend I have just the thing for you: Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon are expected to be visible this weekend, all at the same time.
On Friday and Saturday night, you’ll be able to capture the moment the planets – plus the Moon – align in a diagonal formation in all its glory, through the lenses of some binoculars.
Although such a formation isn’t necessarily all that rare – after all, it has already happened just last month – it will provide the perfect opportunity to see the trio together while they’re just eight degrees apart.
So, just how exactly can we witness such a phenomenon? If you have the time around midnight tonight, August 28, look southeast from the northern hemisphere and you should be able to see the Moon shining just below Jupiter.
If the sky is clear, as forecast, you should be able to get a great view of both. In fact, the Moon is expected to be 83% illuminated while Jupiter is close to its opposition, and so will be shining brightly.
You should be able to witness the Moon and Jupiter aligning without needing a pair of binoculars, but if you happen to have some make sure to use them – you might just be able to spot some of Jupiter’s four ‘Galilean’ Moons: Ganymede; Europa; Calisto; and Io.
If you don’t manage to capture the sight tonight though, don’t worry, because tomorrow night you have the opportunity to add Saturn into the mix.
If you look to the southeast from the northern hemisphere just before midnight on Saturday, August 29, you’ll be able to see the Moon close to Saturn – with Jupiter chilling slightly further away.
Admittedly, Saturn will be slightly more difficult to spot than Jupiter, as it’s approximately 10 times fainter than its fellow planet, so you’ll have to swap out your binoculars for a small telescope.
The Moon, on the other hand, will be 90% illuminated ,so will be easily visible to the human eye, although binoculars will help reveal some added detail.
Thankfully, both instances will take place at around midnight, so you won’t have to stay up until stupid-o’clock to catch a glimpse of the planets, unlike last month’s occurrence, which saw stargazers waking up extra early to catch sight of Jupiter at 4.42am.
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