The three brightest planets in this month's night sky are lining up for a remarkable sunset conjunction at the end of May.
On May 26, 2013, in a triple conjunction, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury will form a tight triangle only three degrees wide.
A triple conjunction is an astronomical event, where two planets or a planet and a star meet each other three times in a short period either in opposition or at the time of inferior conjunction, if an inferior planet is involved. The visible movement of the planet or the planets in the sky is therefore normally prograde at the first conjunction, retrograde at the second conjunction and again prograde at the third conjunction.
Triple conjunctions of planets are fairly rare. The last time it occurred was on May 9th, 2011, and it won’t happen again until October 2015.
This years conjunction is exceptional because it involves three brightest planets in the night sky, and will be visible even in urban areas with heavy light pollution.
The best time to look is about 30 to 60 minutes after sunset. The three planets will be hogging the horizon so a clear view of the western sky is essential. Let Venus be your guide, as it pops out of the twilight long before the others.
When you locate Venus, look in that direction using binoculars, eventually the triangle will become visible to the naked eye.
Three bright planets will highlight the northwestern sky this week and early next. Mercury is shown in pink and Jupiter in yellow. Time is 30 minutes after sunset facing northwest. (Credit: Stellarium/Universe Today)
Triple conjunction on May 26, 2013 (Credit: Solar System Scope)
The show has already started:
On May 23rd, Jupiter and Venus converge to less than 5 degrees apart, near enough for simultaneous binocular viewing;
On May 24th, Mercury passes Venus less than 2 degrees away, shaping the triangle that reaches maximum compactness two nights later on May 26th.
The triangle will begin to scatter on May 27th, but even then the show will not be over. On May 28th, Venus passes Jupiter at a distance of 1 degree, forming a magnificent pair.
From start to end, the three naked-eye planets will be close enough to fit inside the field of typical binoculars from May 23rd until early June. May 26th is just the best among many promising nights..
Featured image: A celestial conjunction viewed on 3 December 2009: the moon, Venus and Jupiter, captured at the ESO's VLT observatory at Paranal, Chile. (Credit: European Southern Observatory)
A major eruption of Indonesian Mount Sinabung accompanied by large pyroclastic flows started at 20:45 UTC on March 4, 2015. Darwin VAAC reported ash cloud reached an altitude of 9.1 km at 23:30 UTC, and drifted 231 km (143 miles) to the NW. Aviation Color Code is on Red
Fukushima is Japan's and the world’s radiation nightmare that will not go away in our lifetimes nor our children’s or grandchildren’s. The Fukushima nuclear power plant is hemorrhaging radioactive toxic waste into the ocean and though we are told n
New activity was observed at 6 volcanoes from February 25 - March 3, 2015. During the same period, ongoing activity was observed at 13 volcanoes.New activity/unrest: Ambrym, Vanuatu | Chikurachki, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Fuego, Guatemala | Popocatepetl, Mexico | Sa
Researchers have discovered a network of viruses, which were previously associated with managed honeybees, may now pose a widespread risk to bumblebees in the wild, according to a new study published today in the Journal of Animal Ecology.The study revealed multiple int
Russian Shiveluch volcano erupted at 22:50 UTC on March 3, 2015 sending ash up to 11.2 km (drifting NNE), Tokyo VAAC reported. Aircraft on the North America - Japan routes are advised to avoid the area.The volcano is in an intense phase of activity, characterized by str
Stanford classics Professor Ian Morris says that in the 21st century our cultural evolution is feeding back into our biological evolution. The result may be technologically enhanced "post-humans" as far removed from us as we are from Neanderthals.The blurring
One of the largest area studies of forest loss impacting biodiversity shows that a third of the Amazon is headed toward or has just past a threshold of forest cover below which species loss is faster and more damaging. Researchers call for conservation policy to switch
Sungrazer comets that survive perihelion extremely close to the Sun is a longstanding puzzle for comet science. In reality, observations going back centuries reveals that a comet’s activity has little or nothing to do with solar warming.Comets sometimes flare or e
The volcanic eruption in Holuhraun which began on August 31, 2014 came to an end on Friday, February 27, 2015, the Scientific Advisory Board of the Icelandic Civil Protection said on February 28 and confirmed today. The Aviation Color Code for Bardarbunga was downgraded
A strong and shallow M6.4 (USGS) earthquake was registered off the coast of southern Sumatra, Indonesia at 10:37 UTC on March 3, 2015. USGS is reporting depth of 37.6 km (23.3 miles). Geoscience Australia is reporting M6.1 at a depth of 25 km (15.5 miles).There are abou
After a significant increase in seismicity which started in February, Chile's Villarrica volcano violently erupted at 06:46 UTC (03:46 local time) on March 3, 2015 ejecting magma fragments up to 1 km above the crater. Ash column reached an altitude of about 3 km and
An impulsive solar flare measuring M8.2 (R2 – Moderate Radio blackout) at its peak time erupted from Region 2290 at 01:35 UTC on March 3, 2015. The event started at 01:25 and ended at 01:42 UTC.A Type II (estimated velocity 750 km/s) and IV radio emissions were as
Most of the times we have looked at Uranus, it has seemed to be a relatively calm place. Well, yes its atmosphere is the coldest place in the solar system. But, when we picture the seventh planet in our solar system invariably the image of a calming blue hazy disc that
Solar activity reached moderate levels today when Region 2290 (N22W84, Hsx/Alpha) produced a pair of M1 (R1-Minor) flares at 06:39 (M1.0) and 09:48 UTC (M1.1). This region also produced numerous low and mid-level C-class flares over the last 24 hours.Numerous Coronal Ma
Jordan and Israel signed a historic deal last week to build a pipeline that would link the Red Sea with the shrinking Dead Sea in an effort to combat regional water shortages and save the Dead Sea from drying out. The idea of linking the two bodies of water together has
The southern noctilucent clouds (NLCs) season is over now, but looking back over the entire season reveals something unexpected.In an 8-year plot of the Antarctic noctilucent cloud frequencies, the 2014/15 season is clearly different from the rest, SpaceWeather reports.
A bright fireball accompanied by sonic boom was seen and recorded falling from the sky over Kerala, India on Friday, February 27, 2015. The fireball left behind orange trail as it descended.The phenomenon reportedly happened at around 17:00 UTC (22:30 local time) and la
With fireball season underway there are many reports of bright fireballs coming in from all over the world, the latest coming from India on February 27. The season will last until April. Total solar eclipse will occur on March 20 when the Moon will completely block the
Earth is under the influence of a southern polar coronal hole high speed stream (CH HSS) which is stirring up geomagnetic storms.Geomagnetic K-index of 5 (G1 - Minor geomagnetic storm) threshold was reached at 01:45 UTC today. Area of impact is primarily poleward of 60
Perhaps the greatest mystery of human experience is consciousness itself. Today, the fields of neuroscience and neurotechnology provide astounding insights into the electrical and chemical processes of the brain. Consequently, institutional science proposes with confide
Produced in 2007, this overview video about NASA's Dawn mission to giant asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres was released before the spacecraft's launch that year.The mission greatly appreciated Leonard Nimoy's support and participation.Dawn investigated V
A very strong and deep M7.0 (USGS) earthquake was registered in Flores Sea, Indonesia at 13:45 UTC on February 27, 2015. USGS is reporting depth of 547.0 km (339 miles). Geoscience Australia is reporting M6.8 at a depth of 586 km (364 miles).Epicenter was located 132 km
A team of Brazilian astronomers led by Denilso Camargo of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul have made a remarkable discovery, a cluster of stars forming on the very edge of the Milky Way galaxy. This is the first time astronomers have found stars being born
The 8.8 magnitude earthquake which struck central Chile on February 27, 2010 was the largest in that country in 50 years.This animation shows that earthquake and all those recorded there in the following five years, including the 8.2 magnitude earthquake in northern Chi
NASA/JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission has produced its first global map of rainfall and snowfall, from April to September 2014. The data map combines measurements from 12 satellites and the GPM Core Observatory, launched February 27, 2014. It covers 8
New activity was observed at 6 volcanoes from February 18 - 24, 2015. During the same period, ongoing activity was observed at 15 volcanoes.New activity/unrest: Ambrym, Vanuatu | Chikurachki, Paramushir Island (Russia) | Fuego, Guatemala | Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka (R
We all know and love the moon. We’re so assured that we only have one that we don’t even give it a specific name. It is the brightest object in the night sky, and amateur astronomers take great delight in mapping its craters and seas. To date, it is the only
A tropical low pressure area designated as System 90S formed in the Southern Indian Ocean on February 21, 2015 and has been slowly organizing and consolidating. Three days later this system became Tropical Storm 14S and was named Tropical Cyclone "Glenda" toda
In late February 2015, a significant winter storm stirred up dust and sand across much of the Arabian Peninsula. The low-pressure system energized strong northwest winds that carried dust from as far as northern Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait to the shores of the Persia
An underwater volcanic eruption in the Ogasawara Islands archipelago gave rise to a new Pacific Ocean island in late November 2013.The new island, named Niijima, was about 500 meters from Nishino-shima at the time, another volcanic island that last erupted and expaned i
For the first time, a NASA satellite has quantified in three dimensions how much dust makes the trans-Atlantic journey from the Sahara Desert to the Amazon rainforest. Among this dust is phosphorus, an essential nutrient that acts like a fertilizer, which the Amazon dep
Several months after a huge black hole was found in Yamal peninsula, Siberia, Russia, researchers say they have found more suspicious-looking craters and lakes and have called for 'urgent' investigation of the new phenomenon.The Siberian Times writes that until
New observation techniques increase galactic field mapping accuracy.The LOw-Frequency ARray, (LOFAR) is a radio interferometer, or radio telescope, made up of several observing stations in Europe. Signals received at the various observing stations are digitally
British Columbia dumps over 34 million gallons of raw sewage, pesticides and pharmaceuticals into the Pacific every day
More than 34 million gallons of raw sewage is pumped off the shores of Victoria, British Columbia, into the Strait of Juan de Fuca daily, polluting the ocean and its ecosystem in ways that are poorly understood by researchers.A report by The Tyee titled, "Victoria&
A G1-Minor geomagnetic storm is currently in progress due to the influence of a recurrent negative polarity coronal hole high speed stream (CH HSS). Geomagnetic K-index of 5 (G1) threshold was reached at 02:31 UTC on February 24, 2015. Area of impact is primarily polewa