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Bright Pairings

October 2, 2020

The night sky offers three beautiful pairings as we head into the weekend. They include the four brightest objects in the night sky.

As night falls, the planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the south. They look like a pair of bright eyes, although one glistens far brighter than the other.

Jupiter is the brighter one. For now, it’s the fourth-brightest object in the night sky. Saturn is to the left of Jupiter. It’s not nearly as bright as Jupiter, but it outshines all but a few other objects.

Jupiter and Saturn are moving closer together, and will appear to almost touch each other in December.

The second pair climbs into good view by a couple of hours after sunset: The Moon and, quite close by, the planet Mars. Mars is the third-brightest night-sky object right now. And it’ll keep that ranking for several weeks. That’s because Earth and Mars are passing close to each other this month.

The Moon will move well past Mars by tomorrow night, although they’ll still be within shouting distance.

The final pair is well up in the east at first light: the planet Venus and the star Regulus. Venus is the “morning star” — the brightest object in the night other than the Moon. Regulus, the heart of Leo, the lion, stands just a whisker above it.

Venus will drop away from Regulus over the coming mornings. But they’ll stay within a few degrees of each other for a few days longer — a beautiful pairing for the dawn sky.

Script by Damond Benningfield

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