By Brian Lada AccuWeather meteorologist and associate author
09th August 2019, 11:34:17 EDT
The second weekend in August offers an astronomical orientation suitable for stargazers of all ages and bright enough to see for themselves in high-pollution cities.
The three-day event gives stargazers the opportunity to see Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon in the southern sky falling in line on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Since this happens over three nights, star-gazers, if they hit a thick cloud cover one night, can persevere for a night, if the weather is more favorable for viewing.
No telescope is needed to see the moon or the two planets, but if you have one, some additional details and maybe even Pluto are revealed, which is in the same area of the sky. Viewers can also spot some shooting stars associated with the Perseid meteor shower, peaking on Monday night.
The show begins on Friday night, when Jupiter and the moon mate in the southern sky. The two are close enough to fit in the same field of view of some telescopes and binoculars.
The two will be visible only in the first half of the night, when Jupiter stops between 1 o'clock in the morning and 2 o'clock in the morning, shortly after the moon follows.
On Saturday night, the three celestial objects are aligned so that the moon appears almost directly between Jupiter and Saturn.
The three objects are bright enough to be seen in high-pollution areas such as New York City, Houston, and Los Angeles.
The three-night show will come to a close on Sunday night when the moon swings on Saturn. It will not be as close to the ring planet as it was to Jupiter two nights ago, but the two will be easy to spot in the southern sky.
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The Jupiter, Saturn and Moon meeting this weekend is ideal for stargazers who are familiarizing themselves with a new telescope, as the three objects are easy to find and reveal some additional details of the planets.
Most telescopes are strong enough to reveal the four largest moons of Jupiter that look like four little stars near the planet. Somewhat stronger telescopes pointed at Saturn will reveal his famous rings and perhaps even his largest moon, Titan.
Jupiter, Saturn and a sack full of moons.
Yesterday evening in #Melbourne but 15 minutes after setting up the #Telescope the cloud started I have managed to capture two clips each of #Jupiter and #Saturn to capture before I had to give up. #astrophotography #planets pic.twitter. com / ftuZ57mhxD
– Peter 🔭☕️ (@cafuego) August 6, 2019
In the meantime, people who have more experience using their telescope and looking for a challenging object can search for Pluto ,
Pluto is too small and too far from Earth to be seen with the naked eye and simple telescopes, but people with a larger, more powerful telescope can use it to make out the distant celestial body.
Monday Night will be a particularly good night to look for Pluto, as it is to the left of Saturn and to the right of the Moon, and has two landmarks that help people find them with their telescopes.
Saturn and Jupiter remain visible in the night sky during the rest of August and until September; However, they gradually become darker and settle down earlier and earlier every night.
The planet Jupiter will be on Monday evening, January 21, 2013, from Tyler, Texas, in conjunction to see the waxing moon. (AP Photo / Dr. Scott M. Lieberman)
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