This month will be your absolute last chance to see Jupiter before it dips from view in the evening sky. Look for this planet’s gradually dimming beacon low in the west as soon as twilight starts to darken.

Planet trio in May 2013

In late May a trio of bright planets comes together low in the west after sunset, creating a dramatic interplay that changes day by day.

Sky & Telesope diagram

As Jupiter sinks lower in the west each evening, the planets Venus and Mercury are rising higher from below. From May 24th to 29th, watch all three as they’re positioned shift from night to night, and on the 28th Venus and Jupiter are just 1° apart, about the width of your outstretched fingertip. To see this celestial dance you’ll need a clear shot at the western horizon. Start looking about 30 minutes after sunset.

Meanwhile, even as Jupiter disappears from the evening sky, Saturn reached opposition on April 28th. That means it’s opposite the Sun in the sky, rising in the east at sunset and staying up all night long. Watch how it nudges higher in the sky at dusk as the weeks and months go by.

This is just a sample of the skywatching tips you'll hear when you download May's audio sky tour, an expertly-guided tour of the evening sky brought to you each month by the editors of Sky & Telescope.


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