{2013 Sky Observer Guide} Triple Conjunction of Planets

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This year’s May and June is the time of rare planetary dances.

The three brightest planets–Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury–are seen above the horizon together, and on May 26 the sunset is going to be even more spectacular, when these planets will gather to form a bright triangle only three degrees wide.

Three bright planets will highlight the northwestern sky this week and early next. Mercury is shown in pink and Jupiter in yellow. Time is 30 minutes after sunset facing northwest. (Credit: Stellarium/Universe Today)
Three bright planets will highlight the northwestern sky this week and early next. Mercury is shown in pink and Jupiter in yellow. Time is 30 minutes after sunset facing northwest. (Credit: Stellarium/Universe Today)

The planets will all be visible at a 10-degree angle. The best time to look is about 30 to 60 minutes after sunset. The three planets will be close to the horizon, so a clear view of the western sky is essential. The triangle will be seen even in places with heavy urban light pollution.

The triangle begins to disperse on May 27th, but on May 28th, Venus passes Jupiter at a distance of 1 degree, forming a truly remarkable pair.

But the show is far from over.

Venus, Jupiter and Mercury will begin to arrange themselves so that by June 5, 2013, they will be in a line.

Sources:
Planets Aligning in the Sunset Sky
Planetary alignment to draw eyes skyward this weekend
Triple conjunction in the sunset sky on May 26, 2013

Jeno Marz
JENO MARZ is a science fiction writer from Latvia, Northern Europe, with background in electronics engineering and computer science. She is the author of two serial novels, Falaha’s Journey: A Spacegirl’s Account in Three Movements and Falaha’s Journey into Pleasure. Marz is current at work on a new SF novel. All her fiction is aimed at an adult audience.

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