Friday, October 16, 2015

Four Planets...Together

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's pre-dawn conjunction of Jupiter and Mars, and I encourage you to get out there while it's still dark to take a gander at this event.  No need for telescopes or other fancy equipment; the naked eye will do fine--though if you have a pair of binoculars then certainly, bring them along! Venus will be the most brilliant "star", followed in brightness by Jupiter, Mercury, and Mars (does the Red Planet look red to you?).

One detail that the above diagram leaves out is that the first-magnitude star Regulus (a leonis) will lie almost in-line with the four planets pictured above; it'll be the bright star above Venus.  Mercury will probably be the most challenging of the four (those binocs will come in handy as you search for the inner-most planet in our Solar System); scan the rising twilight on a line through Jupiter and Venus toward the horizon.

I hope you'll make this early-morning effort, and that the weather will be favorable. Be sure to send me an "observing report" of what you see and think of the spectacle!

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