Three planets now shine in the evening sky, including Saturn now at its best for 2015.
Look west in the early evening to sight brilliant Venus in the twilight, and slightly dimmer Jupiter above it. On the evening of Thursday, May 21, look for the waxing crescent Moon below Venus in a wide pairing of the night sky’s two brightest objects.
The Moon appears between Venus and Jupiter on Friday, May 22, and near Jupiter two nights later on Saturday, May 23.
Meanwhile over on the other side of the sky, Saturn is rising at sunset.
As the illustration shows, look southeast after sunset to see Saturn rising along with the stars of Scorpius. Saturn now outshines all the stars of Scorpius, including the red giant star Antares, shining below Saturn.
Saturn is at opposition this weekend, meaning Sun, Earth and Saturn are now lined up with Earth directly between the Sun and Saturn. That puts Saturn as close to us as it gets for 2015, and as bright as it gets.
Being opposite the Sun, Saturn is now rising in the southeast as the Sun sets in the northwest.
Here’s a shot of Saturn, Scorpius, and the Milky Way from early this morning, May 20, taken about 2:30 a.m. when Saturn and Scorpius lay due south. From the latitude of southern Saskatchewan where I am this week, Saturn and Scorpius graze the southern horizon, even in the middle of the night.