Monday, February 27, 2012

Tonight, Go See 5 Planets

OK, Ultrarunners and fans of the sky.  You have just a couple of days left to check out a pretty cool phenomenon in the night sky.

I had read somewhere on the net where right after sunset you could see three planets easily: Jupiter, Venus--those are easy and common--but the real bonus was you could see Mercury as well. 

Here's what I saw last night:

This was my first confirmed sighting of Mercury!  But it turns out that if you wait a bit (unfortunately, Mercury will have set by then), you can look to the east and also see Saturn and Mars--thus completing the quint-fecta of seeing all of the 5 planets visible from earth with the naked eye.

See Earth Sky for more details (also they get the credit for the image above):

In the Northern Hemisphere, all five visible planets can be seen sometime between sundown and late evening throughout late February 2012. (At latitudes to the south of the equator, however, Mercury may be too close to the glare of the setting sun to view.) By visible planet, we mean any planet that’s easy to see with the unaided eye and that has been watched by our ancestors since time immemorial. In their outward order from the sun, the visible planets are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Sounds like it's time for a run around sundown tonight.

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