When shall we three meet again?

Next Saturday would suit me fine, but I'd rather it wasn't in thunder, lightning or rain.

Mercury, Venus and Saturn in late June
IMAGE: Stellarium

As you can see from the image above, the three of the title are not the famous witches from Macbeth, but the planets Mercury, Venus and Saturn. The period from 23rd to 29th June will see the three planets appearing to get up close and personal as they get within 2.5 degrees of each other. Of course, in reality, they are all vastly different distances away from us, but their orbits happen to put them all in much the same direction at the end of the month.

The only trouble is that they will all appear fairly close to the Sun, making observing an evening event (just after sunset) and you will need a nice flat horizon to catch them before they disappear out of view. I reckon the best time will be shortly after 10pm (BST) but it is best to be outside with plenty of time to make sure you're looking in the right direction. Looking towards the west-north-west you should see a very bright Venus at magnitude -3.9. Then spot Mercury and Saturn nearby.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Saturday 18th Jun 2005 (00:05 UTC) | Permalink
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