The two largest planets in our solar system dominate the night sky tonight. The largest, Jupiter, is easily seen soon after sunset and remains visible until the early hours of the morning. Take a look before it sinks too low and then turn to face the south-east.
There you’ll find the second largest planet – Saturn. The ringed world reaches opposition tonight, which means it rises at sunset and remains visible throughout the night and won’t set until sunrise. It’s at its biggest and brightest for the year and is well worth a look through any telescope.
(Click on an image to enlarge.)
Images courtesy of Mobile Observatory.
02:00 UT – Saturn is at opposition. (Magnitude 0.0, diameter 18.5”. Naked eye, Libra, all night. See images above.)
03:00 UT – Saturn is at perigee. Distance to Earth: 8.967 AU (Magnitude 0.0, diameter 18.5”. Naked eye, Libra, all night.)
11:27 UT – Saturn is at its maximum brightness for 2015. Magnitude: 0.0 (Diameter 18.5”. Naked eye, Libra, all night.)
17:41 UT – Jupiter appears 3.6° north of asteroid 3 Juno. (Jupiter: magnitude -2.0, diameter 35.4”. Juno: magnitude 10.0. Cancer, evening sky.)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.
All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.
Learn more about upcoming astronomical events in 2015 An Astronomical Year (Kindle Edition) and The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) (Kindle Edition and Paperback Edition) and 2016 An Astronomical Year (North American Kindle Edition.)
The Amateur Astronomer’s Notebook allows astronomers to log 150 observing sessions and includes an appendix of hundreds of suggested deep sky objects.
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at astronomywriter “at” gmail.com