The dawn is getting crowded. While three planets, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter have been dancing on the dawn stage for weeks now, tomorrow morning a thin crescent, waning Moon will join in. Tomorrow morning the Moon will be 10% illuminated and 4.5° south of Jupiter.
Over the next couple mornings the Moon will continue to wane and slide along the line of planets in the dawn. On the morning of the 4th it will be 5% illuminated and between Mercury and Mars. On the 5th it will be lower than all three and only 1.6% illuminated.
An evening conjunction of Mercury, Venus and Jupiter on 30 May, 2013
Tomorrow morning and Monday morning will see a close pairing of Mars and Jupiter. While the two have been moving closer
for a few days, during these two dawns the separation will be just under a degree
Look for the pair to rise about 4:13am, almost two hours before the Sun. The two planets will be 20 degrees above the horizon at sunrise. They should be easy to spot with Jupiter at -2 magnitude and Mars dimmer but still easy at 1.5 magnitude. Look 8° below the pair for Mercury still rising towards maximum elongation.
Over the next few mornings Mars and Jupiter will rendezvous in the dawn sky. This morning sees the two a little over 2° apart. Over the next few days that will narrow quickly with close approach occurring on the mornings of July 21st and 22nd with about 50′ of separation between the two planets. By the 26th the distance between the pair will again have grown to over 2°.
Throughout the encounter the two planets will precede the Sun by about 25°, rising about 04:00HST, well placed for observation.
Keep an eye out for Mercury below the pairing, a 2nd magnitude object about halfway between the conjunction and the rising Sun. The innermost planet will reach maximum elongation on July 29th.
The mornings of August 3rd and 4th will see a thin crescent Moon slide along the line of three planets in the dawn.
Tomorow morning, July 6th, will see a nice 5-7° triangle made up of a slim crescent Moon, Mars and Jupiter. Look for the trio to start rising about 04:30 HST with Mars rising first, followed by a 2.5% illuminated Moon. Last up will be Jupiter, rising about 04:55 HST. The Sun will not rise until 05:48 giving plenty of time to enjoy this conjunction.
Over the next few days Mercury and Venus will pass by each other one last time in a dance that has lasted over a month. Tonight the pair are about 2°04′ apart. Tomorrow that will shrink to 1°55′ and widen the following night to 2°03′.
After the 21st, the pair will separate rapidly as Mercury dives into the sunset to inferior conjunction on July 9th.
With the Moon and Jupiter having departed the sunset stage, Mercury and Venus continue their dance. This evening finds the two about 4° apart with the dimmer Mercury higher in the sky. Mercury has dimmed over the last few weeks and is now only 0.7 magnitude, far dimmer than Venus at -4 magnitude.
Over the coming days the pair will draw closer, passing within 2° on June 19th. As the month wanes the two will then separate ending the dance.
This evening the Moon will join the ongoing dance of planets in the sunset. A very thin crescent Moon will be 13° above the horizon at sunset and 6° below and south of the brilliant Venus. 5° above Venus will be Mercury notably dimmer at only 0.4 magnitude.
Tomorrow the Moon will be a bit higher and show a little more crescent at 6% illuminated. It will be above Venus and about the same elevation as Mercury, if 7° further to the south.
Jupiter is still present, but probably too low into the sunset to spot at only 6° from the setting Sun. Maybe with perfect conditions?
This evening will see a line of bright planets in the sunset. Easiest to spot will be the brilliant Venus, shining at -4 magnitude and 15° above the setting Sun. 4°30′ below Venus will be Jupiter, quite low in the sunset, but bright enough to spot at -2 magnitude. 4°16′ above Venus will be Mercury, notably dimmer at -0.2 magnitude. The three will form an almost perfect line of bright objects in the glow of sunset, it should be a nice sight.
The evening dance of Mercury, Venus and Jupiter continues. This evening will see Jupiter and Venus draw to within 1°09′ of each other. Tomorrow will see the configuration shift a bit, Jupiter and Venus slightly closer at 1°05′ separation. Mercury will be about 3° above the close pair.
With Venus rising a little each day while Jupiter is heading into the sunset and superior conjunction, the pair will quickly separate after this close approach. After the end of the month Jupiter will depart the stage.
We actually had mostly clear skies and could see the planetary conjunction tonight, the three were almost in a perfect equilateral triangle.
Mercury, Venus and Jupiter align in the sunset, 26May2013