Posted by: wlsc1979 | 2013-05-23

Rare triple planetary conjunction this weekend


Forwarding this information from our “Rocket Boy”, Jimmie Carroll….another reason to take an evening sail this weekend.  Hopefully these will be high enough in the western sky near the dam to see from the lake, otherwise, enjoy from your favorite location!

Greetings, everyone,

Just as a note, low in the evening sky the planets Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury are getting closer and closer together in the sky (as seen from Earth; not physically getting next to each other 😉 ). From the evening of the 24th through the 30th, if you go out each night (or each night when the clouds that might otherwise plague your skies allow), you can watch these three objects ‘dance’ around with respect to each other (it’s actually kinda cool to go out over a period of a few days and watch them change positions). The evening of the 26th will be the closest the three planets will get during this period.

Some websites for you to peek at to grok information:

SciTechDaily, along with a preview horizon ‘map’ showing the relative locations of the three planets:

 Starry Night:

 Astronomical calendar:

 If you have some of the fancier astronomy apps on your smartphone or iPad or whatnot, I’m sure they will be able to show you what’s what on which evening well ahead of time. 🙂

 Note #1: this triple conjunction action happens with some regularity, but it is very infrequent. The last one was back in 2011. The NEXT time this happens will be October 2015. So if you miss it this go around, you’ve got another 2-1/2 years until the next.� 🙂

Note #2: This is going to be it for Jupiter, as he will be quickly fading out and going behind the Sun (relative to Earth) just a few weeks after this encounter. Mercury will rise higher than Venus for a while, then come back down, having a two-planet conjunction around June 20th. Then it, too, disappears. Venus will continue rising higher and higher into the nighttime sky, reaching her greatest height (or elongation) in November. So for the rest of the Summer and Fall, as you look to the west after sunset, that b-r-i-g-h-t starlike object you see will be Venus.� 🙂

Note #3: this weekend is also the full moon, so after you’ve had your enjoyment of observing Jupiter/Venus/Mercury, turn around and check out the brilliant ball that is The Moon



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