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Skywatch: Spot an unusual planet trio

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posted on Dec, 2 2006 @ 04:41 PM
Rare and pretty cool and interesting.
Wanted to allow a heads up to those star gazers.

(MSNBC)-It's unusual for three planets to appear to reside in the same area of sky

The sky Dec. 10 at 7:30 a.m. from midnorthern latitudes. Most skywatchers will want to try and spot the trio a little earlier under darker skies. But you'll need a clear view of the horizon

Jupiter, Mercury and Mars are destined in the coming days to crowd into a small spot in the sky, making for a most intriguing gathering very low in the east-southeast sky.

A wide variety of different conjunctions and configurations involving the planets typically occur during the course of any given year. It is rather unusual, however, when three or more bright planets appear to reside in the same small area of the sky.

From our Earthly vantagepoint, we can readily observe Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn with our unaided eyes as they revolve around the Sun. Each of these planets appears to move against the starry background at their own speeds and along their own tracks. It is obvious that since they are constantly moving at different speed, the positions of all five planets at any particular time is unique to that particular moment.

The best time to look for them will be around 6:30 a.m. local standard time. At that hour, they will be hovering very low over the east-southeast horizon in the brightening dawn twilight. Unfortunately, their low altitude, plus this gathering's proximity to the Sun will probably render Mars invisible (or nearly so) to the unaided eye. So I would strongly recommend that you use binoculars if you have any hopes of seeing it. In contrast, Mercury and Jupiter should be readily visible to the eye with only slight difficulty, as they respectively will appear about 3 and 19 times brighter than Mars.

posted on Dec, 2 2006 @ 05:38 PM
Thanks for the heads up. What an illuminating sight that will be. Within a 5 degree circle they will be appearing in. A trio of light.


posted on Dec, 8 2006 @ 06:50 PM
Just a reminder bump

(MSNBC)-Planetary triple play on deck this weekend
Jupiter, Mercury, Mars to cluster in predawn skies

About 45 minutes before dawn on Sunday those three planets will be so close that the average person’s thumb can obscure all three from view.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Stargazers will get a rare triple planetary treat this weekend with Jupiter, Mercury and Mars appearing to nestle together in the predawn skies.

They will be almost as close together on Saturday and Monday, but Sunday they will be within one degree of each other in the sky. Three planets haven’t been that close since 1925, said Miami Space Transit Planetarium director Jack Horkheimer.

The planets are actually hundreds of millions of miles apart, but the way the planets orbit the sun make it appear they are neighbors in the east-southeastern skies. They’ll be visible in most parts of the world — in the Western Hemisphere, as far south as Buenos Aires and as far north as Juneau, Alaska, Horkheimer said.


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