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The Kansan - Newton, KS
by Bob Everoski
A PLANETARY TRIO
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By Bob Everoski
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By Bob Everoski
May 23, 2013 7:55 a.m.

Over the next several days, the planets Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter from our line of sight here on the Earth will appear to move closer and closer together. However, for best results, a drive out in the country to obtain a clear view of the northwestern horizon is essential.

At about 9:30 P.M., look about 4 degrees above the northwestern horizon. You will see a very bright white looking star. This is not a star at all, but the planet Venus. Remember, if you hold your fist out at arm’s length, the distance between the lower and upper part of your fist measures about 10 degrees.

About 5 degrees to the left of Venus, and up 7 degrees will be the planet Jupiter. Venus will appear six times brighter than Jupiter.

On Friday evening, May 24, at about the same time, the planet Mercury will appear only about 1.5 degrees to the upper right of Venus, but 16 times dimmer. A pair of binoculars is recommended for better viewing.

Then on the nights of May 26 and 27, the planets Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter will all appear within two degrees of each other. This is an excellent opportunity to view Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun. It has been stated that even the famous Polish Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was never able to see this elusive planet.

On May 28, the planet Venus will pass only one degree above Jupiter while Mercury will be visible only three degrees above them.

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