Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Starwatch: Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury align with the moon | Science

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Starwatch Card Monday March 6, 2021

There is a beautiful alignment of three planets and the moon in the pre-dawn sky this week, but it’s best seen from the southern hemisphere.

The graph shows the view looking east at 6 a.m. (AEDT) on March 10 from Sydney, Australia. This morning the moon will be a slender crescent with only 13% of its visible hemisphere illuminated. The illuminated part will point in the direction of the planets. Saturn is the highest and apparently closest altitude to the moon. It is also the weakest of the triplets. Jupiter comes next, obviously the brightest planet on display. The elusive Mercury is lowest in altitude but second in brightness.

This is a great opportunity to see Mercury, which never moves too far from the sun. As a bonus, the grouping spans the length of Capricorn’s weak zodiac constellation, the Goat. So, those with dark skies can use the planets as markers to help them distinguish the shape of the constellation. Unfortunately, the further north you are, the lower the cluster will appear. From in the United Kingdom, only the moon is likely to be visible in the dawn sky but the magnificent crescent will be…

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