Rare 3-Planet Sight Tonight: See Jupiter, Mercury and Venus Together

Yahoo News – by Tariq Malik | SPACE.com

Three planets will perform a rare celestial dance in the sunset sky tonight (May 26), a cosmic show that stars Jupiter, Venus and Mercury.

Weather permitting, the three planets will shine together in a triangle formation low in the western sky in a planetary meet-up known as a conjunction. But there is more to the night sky sight than meets the eye.  

“Triple conjunctions of planets are fairly rare,” astronomer Tony Phillips explained in a NASA observing guide. “The last time it happened was in May 2011 and it won’t happen again until October 2015.”

What sets tonight’s planetary show apart from other conjunctions is that it includes the three brightest planets visible in the May night sky. Venus is the brightest of the trio, with Jupiter a close second and Mercury coming in third.

The three planets will appear within a 3-degree field of the night sky and should fit inside the field of view of a typical set of binoculars. For comparison, your closed fist held out at arm’s length covers about 10 degrees of the sky.

The best time to look for Jupiter, Venus and Mercury together is between 30 and 60 minutes after sunset. If you have clear weather, the planets will appear low on the western horizon, so an unobstructed view is vital.

The three planets have been closing in on one another for tonight’s sky show over the last week, but if you miss them tonight don’t fret. The planet trio will still be visible on Memorial Day Monday (May 27) as their triangle pattern begins to separate, Phillips wrote.

On Tuesday (May 27), Venus and Jupiter will appear extremely close together, separated by just 1 degree, in what could be a “truly spectacular pair,” Phillips added.



6 thoughts on “Rare 3-Planet Sight Tonight: See Jupiter, Mercury and Venus Together

  1. I saw it. Normally, these things get hyped but are not worth it. This was–3 confirmed planet sightings appearing exactly as NASA stated. Easily seen with the naked eye, and no clouds obscuring. Catch it tonight.

  2. I missed this one due to cloudiness, rats. But I did see the triangular alignment of Jupiter, Mars, and Spica in August 2012 – it was awesome. Spica was so beautiful, bright and sparkly it looked like multicolored UFO.

  3. AH..HA!!! So that was what I saw in the sky the other night. Thanks for clearing that all up for me. So it wasn’t a UFO or a group of drones like I stated in my email the other night. I’m glad I wasn’t crazy. Thanks for posting Angel and Henry. lol

  4. We don’t get to see this good stuff here in the city. There’s so much lighting that we only get to see the brightest of the stars.

    Have to head up into the mountains, or out to the desert to see more than that.

    1. That’s one of the reasons I moved from Chi-town. Had to drive over an hour to see any decent stars. I’m in paradise now for stargazing.

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