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.
This week will see the reappearance of Jupiter in the dawn sky. This morning the planet will be 10° above the rising Sun, climbing quickly higher each morning. Look for a bright, -2 magnitude object directly above the bright glow of dawn.
Over the next couple weeks there will be a nice series of conjunctions between Jupiter, Mars, Mercury and the Moon.
Today Jupiter passes through superior conjunction, passing behind the Sun as seen from our vantage point here on Earth. The planet is currently lost in the Sun’s glare and unobservable, it will reappear in the dawn sky during the first week of July.
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?
Jupiter is quickly sliding into the sunset heading for superior conjunction on June 19th. This evening the planet will be 10° above the setting Sun, in the next few days it will disappear into the glare. Look for Jupiter to reappear in the dawn during the first week of July.
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.