Stargazing: Stunning twilight conjunction

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One of the year's best celestial displays occurs from Friday through May 29, when three planets gather for a spectacular show in the evening twilight.

Jupiter has been our bright "evening star" all year and is now just days away from dropping out of the evening sky. Before the Jovian giant makes its final bow, it will join Venus and Mercury in a tight triangle just above the west-northwestern horizon 35 minutes after sunset. Look for Jupiter Friday evening about 7 degrees above the horizon and 4 degrees to the upper left of brighter Venus. Fainter Mercury will sit about 1.25 degrees above and to the upper right of Venus. The width of your little finger held out to the horizon equals about 1 degree.

By Sunday evening, the trio of planets will be at their closest and move to within 2 degrees of each other. Jupiter will then move to within 1 degree of Venus next Monday and May 28 as it slips closer to the horizon.

science


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