Moon, Jupiter and Saturn to create celestial triangle Sunday night
From Mars to Neptune, check out the first close-up perspectives of the planets in our celestial neighborhood.
As the weekend comes to a close, the night sky will have one more treat for stargazers as Jupiter, Saturn and the moon rise together to form a triangle on Sunday night.
The astronomical meetup will take place one night after the full ‘Buck Moon Eclipse,’ but the moon will still appear nearly full as it rises with the two planets on Sunday night.
“On Sunday night into Monday morning, July 5 to 6, 2020, the full Moon and the planets Jupiter and Saturn will form a triangle,” NASA said. “The Moon will reach its highest [point] in the sky for the night on Monday morning, with Jupiter to the right and Saturn above.”
The trio will first appear in the southeastern sky by around 10 p.m. local time and will climb higher in the southern sky as the night progresses, unless cloudy conditions interfere.
Jupiter, Saturn and the nearly full moon will rise in the southeastern sky on Sunday night by around 10 p.m. local time. (NASA)
Folks staying up late on Sunday night, or waking up before daybreak on Monday, will also be able to see Mars shining in the eastern sky after 1 a.m. local time.
The three are all bright enough to see with the naked eye and will out-shine all the stars in that area of the sky. However, the trio will be bunched together so tightly that they may appear in the same field of view for some telescopes and binoculars.
This will be a great opportunity for people to get familiar with a new telescope as the moon and planets will be easy to find in the sky and will make interesting targets when magnified.
With just a basic telescope or binoculars, onlookers will be able to see Jupiter’s four largest moons and the countless craters on the surface of our moon. A more powerful telescope or pair of binoculars may even allow people to see the rings of Saturn.
Jupiter and Saturn will continue to get brighter heading into the middle of the month with the two planets making their closest approach to the Earth in mid-July.
This is the best time of the entire year to view the planets before they gradually dim throughout the rest of 2020.
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