There are a few reasons to look up this weekend. Mars and Jupiter will make an exceptionally close encounter in the pre-dawn sky over Memorial Day weekend—and will appear closest on Sunday (May 29th).
The astronomical event is known as conjunction and will be visible in a cloud-free sky just before dawn over a three-day period (Saturday, May 28 through Monday, May 30th). Those who are awake can spot both planets about 60 to 90 minutes before sunrise, local time, in the eastern sky.
Jupiter will be the brighter of the two planets with Mars appearing just below it. Venus will also be visible and will appear lower in the eastern sky, as will Saturn, which will be higher in the southeastern sky. While Jupiter and Mars may appear close to one another in the sky, in reality, they are hundreds of millions of miles apart, it’s just from the perspective of Earth that they’ll seem so close.
Anyone who misses this planetary conjunction will have to wait until August 14th, 2024 for the next chance to see Mars and Jupiter converge.