Saturday, February 23, 2008

Planet Party, 5:30 am

For those of you who don’t often see the morning sky, there are a whole bevy of planets to observe there at the moment.

Jupiter and Venus are both bright in the morning sky (Jupiter high, mag ~-1.5 Venus low, mag ~-3.7), and for the next few weeks, Mercury is joining them (mag ~0). As the innermost planet is currently near aphelion, the sky is still pretty dark when it first rises, so it is easy to spot. Mercury and Venus will be getting closer together until the 28th or so, and they’ll still be close when the crescent moon swings past on the 6th of March. If you care to grab a pair of binoculars or a small telescope to ogle Jupiter’s moons, just remember that the outer two of them are about the same diameter as Mercury.

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