Jupiter will be the brightest planet in the sky during the month of August — and beginning Friday, it will be lined up with Saturn and the moon.
For three days, the trio will be lined up side-by-side … by side. Those who look south in the night sky Aug. 9-11 will be able to see the moon in a nearly straight line with Saturn and Jupiter.
So, what does it mean when we say Jupiter is “bright” this month? “By bright planet, we mean any solar system planet that is easily visible without an optical aid and that has been watched by our ancestors since time immemorial,” EarthSky.org says .
Jupiter comes out at dusk and sets in the middle of the night.
Saturn is also really easy to see in the month of August, and it will be out for most of the night.
“They both come out at nightfall and are out till late night. Mercury appears in the east before sunrise,” EarthSky.org reports.
If you’re struggling to tell which planet is which, remember this: Jupiter is 10-times brighter than Saturn. In fact, it’s the fourth-brightest object in the sky after the sun, the moon and Venus.
EathSky.org says at nightfall and in the early evening during August, Jupiter will shine well to the west of Saturn.
In its tips for seeing Saturn, Space.com says it’s highest in the sky from nightfall until 10:30 p.m. — but it’s not high above the horizon, especially for those viewing from northern latitudes.
However, “You may find that Saturn appears excellent on milky white nights when everything else is too dimmed by haze to be worth observing at all,” the Space.com visibility guide says .
The alignment of Saturn, Jupiter and the moon isn’t the only astrological event to check out in August, according to this tweet from AccuWeather:
Mark your calendar for these 3 astronomy events in August:
Aug. 9-11: Jupiter, Moon Saturn to align
Aug 12-13: Peak of Perseid Meteor Shower
Late-Aug.: Orion returns to the night sky
— AccuWeatherAstronomy (@AccuAstronomy) July 31, 2019