View Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury this weekend

obeygiant

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 14, 2002
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3,784
totally cool


Turn to the west-northwest sky after sunset through Thursday. An unusual event will occur just above the horizon: the tightest three-planet grouping until 2026.

Experts refer to the alignment of Venus, Jupiter and Mercury as the "dance of the planets.''

Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets, have been working their way toward each other this month.

Tonight, the third-brightest planet in the solar system, Mercury, will rest just to the upper right of Venus.

"Mercury and Venus can come close together fairly often,'' said David Kriegler of the University of Nebraska at Omaha physics department, because "they are inferior planets, or inside our orbit.''

"It is just the luck of the draw that Jupiter, in its journey across the sky, is in the correct position in its orbit to align with the inner two,'' he said.

Venus, Jupiter and Mercury will fit within about a 5-degree circle of each other. A stargazer should be able to view the three planets at the same time. For a better view, use binoculars.

The grouping will be at its closest Sunday night, when the planets will fit within about a 2.5-degree circle.
"May 26 is the best grouping, and tightest,'' Kriegler said.

After Sunday, Jupiter will gradually move down in the night sky. By early June it will fade away.

Kriegler said the dance of the planets is "not that rare, but seeing Mercury is a hard feat, since it sets so soon after the sun.''
Sunset will be about 8:45 p.m. the next few nights. The planets should come into their best viewing about 45 minutes later.
link

Just FYI. :D :)
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
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The Far Horizon
Thanks for posting the heads up; I must say, I love this sort of thing. It is something I find absolutely fascinating, and could read about it and think about it endlessly.
 

obeygiant

macrumors 601
Original poster
Jan 14, 2002
4,019
3,784
totally cool
Of course it's cloudy here. I may be able to still catch it this week when the trio of planets isn't so close together.

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Thanks for posting the heads up; I must say, I love this sort of thing. It is something I find absolutely fascinating, and could read about it and think about it endlessly.
I feel the same way. Solar eclipses and comets are especially mind blowing for me.
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,639
1,217
Georgia
It's always cloudy here at night. I can't think of the last time I have seen a star at night. Same thing for planets too.