Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Menage a trois

A lovely conjunction of planets this week low in the WNW at sunset. In my pic that's -- left to right -- Saturn, Venus, Mercury and the stars Pollux and Castor, the Gemini Twins, on Thursday evening as seen in the Northeastern US (and pretty much anywhere in the mid-northern hemisphere). Then the next few nights things get even tighter. You will need a clear view of the northwestern horizon. Wait too long after sunset and these objects will have set. Meanwhile, Jupiter blazes high above to the southwest.

Twilightwise, the situation is not quite so good here in the west of Ireland. In any case, I'll have to walk to the top of the hill to see the conjunction, assuming, that is, that we get a rare clear evening.

Of course, the planets are no where near each other in space. Here is a diagram of the inner solar system on Thursday evening. Saturn is way, way out there, about ten times further than Mercury.