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Dawn Dances, Neptunian Nights, and Eclipse Essence

13 Sep 2017, 14:59 UTC
Dawn Dances, Neptunian Nights, and Eclipse Essence
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The planets are aligning! The week ahead will feature multiple planetary conjunctions at dawn and great views of Neptune and Triton at nightfall.
The fun has begun! Mercury and Regulus were just ½° apart at dawn on September 10th. Bob King
My wife has me asked me more than once about taking ballroom dance lessons. She'd love to get back to the dance floor. Me, too — as soon as time allows. Until then, I'm going to leave the dancing to the stars. Well, planets mostly. In the coming week, there will be no fewer than seven conjunctions between Regulus, Venus, Mars, Mercury and the crescent Moon at dawn.
North American observers have the best seats for several of the events, while others are best seen from Europe or the western Pacific. But no matter where you live, this bunch slides and shimmies within close proximity of each other for seven mornings and then some.
As we spin the clock forward, the interweaving motions recall a square dance, each planet changing position according to its own orbital motion and touched by Earth's own travels around the Sun. Mercury reached greatest elongation on September 12th and is now well placed for ...

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