The Forecast for This Week’s Night Sky

Here is what can be seen in the night sky in the near future.

This week’s night sky is going to provide many opportunities to see planets. If you get up early in the morning, you can notice Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn shining in the south-southeast. Meanwhile, towards the west, after the fall of darkness, Venus still shines quite brightly. These visible planets, also called “wandering stars,” are constantly moving at a very fast pace, and their location in the sky moves based on their (and our) orbit around the Sun.

The planets are visible even with your naked eyes, although the view would be considerably improved with the aid of a pair of binoculars. This is especially true for the planet of Jupiter and the four large orbiting moons. To be able to see the rings of Saturn, you require a small telescope, although the planet itself is visible without one.

The Moon is currently waning. It is now well past its full moon phase, so it rises later at night. This makes this week exceptionally good for people that want to stargaze in moonless skies. If you happen to find yourself under dark skies, this will allow you to see the inner part of the Milky Way towards the south, around midnight.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020: The Moon brushes over Saturn and Jupiter

This week, waking up early will enable you to witness some amazing sights in the sky. The two giant planets of our solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, are starting to look amazing as time progresses, and their so-called annual oppositions draw nearer. By July, both of them will reach their brightest level of 2020. This morning, before sunrise, there is a tableau of a 71%  waning gibbous Moon, which is gliding by 2.3 degrees south of Jupiter’s apparent position, then 2.7 degrees south of Saturn’s position. If you want to witness this, look to the south.