Starwatch: another moon cruise past Jupiter and Saturn | Astronomy

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If you missed it last month, this week offers night owls another chance to watch the moon cruise past the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn.

Low in the south, Jupiter and Saturn are gradually moving apart following their great conjunction last December, when they appeared so close in the sky that they could not be seen as separate objects. Jupiter currently resides in Aquarius, the water bearer, with Saturn sitting squarely in Capricornus, the goat.

Later this week, starting on 24 July, the Moon spends several days passing through these same constellations. The chart shows the view looking south from London at 0300 BST on 25 July. On that particular night, the moon will be one day past full, and so just beginning its waning phase, although with 98.6% of its visible surface illuminated, from our point of view, it will be hard to recognise that the moon is no longer full.

Over the following few nights, however, the illuminated portion will drop by about a 10th, and this will be clearly noticeable. The moon will first encounter Saturn, then cruise on to Jupiter. From the southern hemisphere, the planets and moon are much higher in the sky, appearing in the north-east, above the body and head of Pegasus, the flying horse.

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