{2013 Sky Observer Guide} Triple Conjunction of Planets

{2013 Sky Observer Guide} Triple Conjunction of Planets

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