Venus, Mercury & Jupiter to brighten up evening sky

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May 25, 2013

PUNE: A planetary conjunction of Venus, Mercury and Jupiter will be visible from earth without the use of binoculars from Saturday up to early June.

May 25, 2013

PUNE: A planetary conjunction of Venus, Mercury and Jupiter will be visible from earth without the use of binoculars from Saturday up to early June.

Venus and Jupiter, two of the brightest planets in the solar system, have been approaching each other over the last month and are expected to be clearly visible from Saturday low in the West-Northwesterly direction a little after sunset. As a rare and unusual sighting, Mercury, currently the third brightest planet, can be seen on the lower right side of Venus, said a statement issued by city-based Aastronomica club here on Friday.

From Saturday till May 29, Venus, Mercury and Jupiter will fit within a 5-6 degrees circle, making all three visible at the same time.

This grouping will be closest on the evening of May 26 when all the three planets fit in a 2 degrees circle. Jupiter and Venus will be just 1 degree apart from each other on the evening of May 28, after which Jupiter will slowly disappear from view from early June, the statement said.

Planetary conjunctions are routine celestial events of which occur when two celestial objects, when observed from the earth, seem to have either the same right ascension or the same elliptical longitude. Mercury's distance from the earth is approximately 77 million km, Venus is about 38 million km, while Jupiter is approximately five astronomical units away from earth.

The last time these planets were sighted close to 1 degree was on February 1, 2008.