How to Watch This Week's Rare Venus-Jupiter-Mars Conjunction

Tuesday, 27 October 2015 - 11:13AM
NASA
Astronomy
Solar System
Tuesday, 27 October 2015 - 11:13AM
How to Watch This Week's Rare Venus-Jupiter-Mars Conjunction
This week, Venus, Jupiter, and Mars will come together in a close encounter that will be bright enough to see without the use of a telescope. This phenomenon, called a triple planet conjunction, is relatively rare; we won't see another quite like it until January 2021.



For the next week, Jupiter and Venus will move closer to each other until they are less than 2 degrees apart, or from our perspective, approximately a finger-width. Mars completes the triangle, although it's much fainter. Venus and Jupiter will be visible with the naked eye, especially right before sunrise, when the planets are high above the horizon but it's still dark enough to spot them. Mars is a little more difficult to see, especially at any other time of day, but will be easily visible with binoculars. The planets will be close enough together than all three of them will be in the same field of vision using regular binoculars. 

via GIPHY



You can see it any morning this week by waking up before sunrise and looking towards the eastern horizon. The celestial event will be bright enough that it can be seen from almost anywhere in the country, even brightly lit cities like New York (so we'll be able to see it too!). 

How to Watch the Rare Venus-Jupiter-Mars Conjunction This Week

Then, on November 5-7, the crescent moon will move from Jupiter to Venus, creating an even more striking visual:

How to Watch the Rare Venus-Jupiter-Mars Conjunction This Week

If you look closely with binoculars throughout this event, you'll be able to see a fourth planet, Mercury, way down near the horizon by itself:

How to Watch the Rare Venus-Jupiter-Mars Conjunction This Week

Opening quote
"As dawn brightens, look for a fourth planet, Mercury, lurking way down near the horizon below the other three," wrote Sky and Telescope. "Don't delay; Mercury is sinking lower day by day."
Closing quote
Science
Space
NASA
Astronomy
Solar System

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