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The skies of summer give skygazers a nice opportunity to watch an approaching nighttime spectacle. Observers in July can see brilliant Jupiter with Saturn down and to its left rising in the southeast before midnight. By the December solstice the pair will have moved closer to each other--appearing nearly to touch!--and toward the southwest sky over Lake Michigan .

To help find the planets, look left of the full moon as Fourth of July winds down. While the moon overwhelms the stars of Sagittarius, to its east are the planets. Because the two planets are nearly opposite the sun, they are also very bright.

Fourth of July 2020; moon, Jupiter , Saturn

Just after sunset on December 21, 2020, the pair are visible over Lake Michigan in the direction the sun went down. (Note: though in the illustration, Neptune is too faint to be seen in twilight.)

Dec. 21, 2020, ecliptic with Jupiter-Saturn conjunction

The ringed planet Saturn and giant Jupiter with its four prominent moons will be visible side-by-side in a telescope's eyepiece. Even a good pair of binoculars could be sufficient to discern Jupiter's Galilean moons, and Saturn will be clearly non-circular.

Ringed Saturn and giant Jupiter, both with moons visible, in conjunction

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