It will be easier than ever this week to see Jupiter, already the third-brightest natural object in the sky, when it moves directly opposite the sun Thursday and makes its closest approach of the year to Earth.
August is likely the best time in 2021 to view both Jupiter and Saturn as the two neighboring planets will have reached opposition this month.
Both will be especially easy to spot this year at opposition because they are near the full moon, according to science and nature website EarthSky. Jupiter comes to opposition roughly every 13 months, the site says.
“To spot Jupiter, look to the left of the full moon (or right, if you’re using a telescope that inverts your image). You should see two bright dots a few degrees apart, along the ecliptic or the path of the planets and moons in our sky,” EarthSky reports. “Saturn will be just to the left of the moon, while Jupiter will be even further to the left.”
Telescopes are not needed to see Jupiter and Saturn this week, but watchers with them may be able to see Jupiter’s moons.