Photos of Jupiter and Saturn, headed for a December close encounter

The moon swept past Jupiter and Saturn this week, as they’re drawing closer together in our sky, headed for an historic, once-in-20-years conjunction on December 21, 2020.

Jupiter, Saturn, the moon, and a streak - the ISS - in a twilight sky, above a sururban neighborhood.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Matt Lantz in Aledo, Texas caught this image on the evening of November 19, 2020. See the streak? It’s the International Space Station. Matt wrote: “Was waiting to pick up my daughter from soccer practice and managed to catch the ISS as it passed right by the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn all right next to each other. Pretty cool!” Thank you, Matt!

Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest and brightest gas giant planets in our solar system, will have their once-in-20-years great conjunction on December 21, 2020 … day of the December solstice. At their closest, they’ll be only 0.1 degree apart! That’s just 1/5 of a full moon diameter. We’re seeing many beautiful images of them already at EarthSky Community Photos. A few of our favorites are below. If you’d like to submit an image, you can do so here.

Thanks to all for sharing your photos with us!

By the way, bookmark this post. We’ll be posting more favorite, incoming images here.

Read more: Before 2020 ends, a great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

The 2021 lunar calendars are here! Order yours before they’re gone. Makes a great gift!

Dots labeled Saturn and Jupiter with small waxing crescent moon showing earthshine.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Emma Zulaiha Zulkifli in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, captured this photo of Saturn, Jupiter and the waxing crescent moon in the early evening of November 18, 2020. If you look closely, you can see 2 of Jupiter’s moons, Callisto and Ganymede. Emma wrote: “After sunset, it was starting to clear on the western sky. I could see the clouds illuminated by the moon. I was able to capture the moon, earthshine and both planets Jupiter and Saturn. The celestial objects are visible and obvious to see by unaided eye.” Thank you, Emma!

Jupiter, Saturn, Milky Way in starry sky over dark landscape with trees and barn.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | David Byers in the Texas Hill Country captured this photo of Jupiter and Saturn on November 15, 2020. He wrote: “Jupiter and Saturn visible above and to the left of the barn.” Thank you, David!

A deep exposure creating a magnificent MW backdrop to Jupiter and Saturn, with the Terlingua ghost town in the foreground.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Michael Zuber in Texas captured this photo of Jupiter and Saturn with a magnificent Milky Way backdrop in Terlingua on November 11, 2020. He wrote: “Milky Way over Terlingua Ghost Town. I got lucky and captured a meteor. Jupiter and Saturn are also prominent in the photo”. Thank you, Michael! 

Jupiter and Saturn above sunset over calm water with small rocks in foreground.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Randy Shetter in Palos Verdes, California, captured this photo of Saturn and Jupiter above Santa Catalina Island on November 11, 2020. He wrote: “Sunset at the beach of Palos Verdes, California, with Jupiter and Saturn. I was trying also to capture the Milky Way, but there was still too much ambient light. In the background is Santa Catalina Island.” Thank you, Randy!

Saturn and Jupiter float beside the Milky Way over an antique wooden covered bridge.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Brian Mollenkopf from Rushville, Ohio, captured an image of the Milky Way as Jupiter and Saturn close in on each other above a covered bridge on November 9, 2020. Thank you, Brian!

Sky with broken clouds and two bright dots and large text.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Gene Hettel in Calamba, Laguna, Philippines, captured this image on November 8, 2020. Jupiter and Saturn are in the upper left of the photo. Jupiter is the brighter object. Gene wrote: “Saturn and Jupiter drawing ever closer toward their December 21 rendez-vous.” Thank you, Gene!

Starry sky with two brighter dots labeled Saturn and Jupiter.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Aurelian Neacsu captured this image in Visina, Dambovita, Romania, on November 8, 2020. Thank you, Aurelian!

Bottom line: Don’t miss these shots of Jupiter and Saturn as they head toward their close encounter in the December 21, 2020, conjunction.

Read more: Jupiter and Saturn’s great conjunction on December 21