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The Urban Astronomer

Planetary Trio 'Warm Up Act'

10 May 2013, 23:18 UTC
Planetary Trio 'Warm Up Act'
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

During the month of May, three planets are going to move into a very close alignment, and the set up begins this week with the Moon adding some color to the scene for a few days. The two fast-moving inner planets, Mercury and Venus, are going to be coming into view in the west shortly after sunset, joining the massive Jupiter as it slowly fades out of view into the twilight. The dynamics of these changes is not easy to explain in a short blog post, but because of the fact that inner and outer planets appear to move differently from our Earth-bound perspective, the planets will all appear to 'cross over' in the west over the next few weeks, and the view should be dramatic.The Moon adds color to the view.This weekend, the show starts with Venus emerging from the glare of sunset into the western sky. You'll need a low western horizon to see this, in particular with the young Moon on the 10th. The alignment of Jupiter, the Moon and Venus on the 11th should be nice, and then as the Moon rapidly moves out of the scene, look for Venus (and shortly thereafter Mercury) to move ...

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