Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in the solar system, can be seen simultaneously on opposite sides of the sky one hour after sunset this week.
Jupiter has been our bright "evening star" since last December and is now positioned to drop out of the evening sky by late May. The Jovian giant, still shining at a dazzling bright --2 magnitude, is currently about 10 degrees above Aldebaran and 18 degrees above the west-northwestern horizon at 9:30 p.m. The width of your clenched fist measures about 10 degrees of the sky.
Golden-colored Saturn, now in opposition, rises at sunset and is in the sky all night long. Because Earth and Saturn are as close as they will get to each other all year, the ring world will appear at its brightest, about 0.1 magnitude, and biggest through a telescope. After locating brighter Jupiter in the west, look for dimmer Saturn about 17 degrees above the southeastern horizon and 15 degrees to the lower left of Spica.
-- By Dan Malerbo,
Buhl Planetarium and Observatory