Skywatching: May 5-9

Gas Giants

In early May, you have the chance to see both JUPITER and SATURN, the solar system’s largest planets, in the evening sky—but only for about another six weeks. Chicago’s skies are clearing, so take a look. As soon as it gets dark, Jupiter, the brighter and larger of two, is in the western sky, setting a few hours after the sun. Saturn is on the opposite side of the sky, rising in the east just a few minutes after sunset. You may notice a slight color difference between the two. Jupiter is a brilliant white, while Saturn has a bit of a golden tinge.

Jupiter will gradually fade into the evening twilight, setting earlier and earlier. In July, the giant planet will move behind the Sun from Earth’s point of view. Meanwhile, Saturn will rise earlier and earlier, and as spring moves into summer, Saturn and Mars will dominate the evening sky—more on Saturn later.

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