Today the planet Mercury passes through inferior conjunction, passing between the Sun and the Earth. In a week or so the planet will again be visible in the dawn sky, climbing higher each day. Maximum elongation will occur November 17th.
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.