Planets come close in dawn sky

Three bright planets came together today for one of the closest conjunctions in decades. Mercury, Mars and Jupiter were so close in the dawn sky that a thumb could cover them. They could all be found within an area of sky a degree across – only twice the width of the Moon.

Mercury and Jupiter were especially close, though really separated by a vast distance in space. Both appeared bright enough to be seen with the naked eye in the pre-dawn sky. Mars is fainter and a lot more difficult to see.

The grouping will continue to be compact over the next few days as described on the Sky and Telescope website. Some photos of the event appear on the SPA website.

Experts say there will not be another gathering of three bright planets as close until at least 2030.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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