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Author Topic:   Rare Five Planet Alignment
juniperb
Knowflake

Posts: 6830
From: Blue Star Kachina
Registered: Mar 2002

posted March 24, 2004 09:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for juniperb     Edit/Delete Message
Rare Five-Planet Alignment Visible
Wed Mar 24,12:01 PM ET

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Five planets are arrayed across the evening sky in a spectacular night show that won't be back for another three decades.

For the next two weeks, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn the five closest planets should be easily visible at dusk, along with the moon.


"It's semi-unique," said Myles Standish, an astronomer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "They're all on the same side of the sun and stretched across the sky and that's what is kind of pretty."


Standish missed Monday evening's opportunity, but said Tuesday that he will gaze up when he walks his dog this week and next. He expects mountains and bright city lights to hamper his view, however.


The planetary lineup will be visible to the naked eye every night for an hour after sunset through early April. At the end of the year, the same five planets will reunite for a few weeks, but in the pre-dawn hours.


Standish said this particular planetary grouping may offer the best nighttime views until 2036.


The orbits of the five planets take them to the same side of the sun every few years or so. The conditions have to be just right for all five planets to be clearly visible at dusk or dawn; Mercury is often tough to catch. Even rarer are so-called alignments, where the planets are clustered together in the sky; this is not one of those.


Stargazers should look to the western horizon just after sunset. Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn will be lined up in the sky with Jupiter close to the eastern horizon. They will span about 135 degrees. Saturn will be almost directly overhead.


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If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. ~James Herriot

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2tailscorp
Knowflake

Posts: 172
From: Grand Canyon State
Registered: Mar 2004

posted March 24, 2004 11:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 2tailscorp     Edit/Delete Message
How cool! If it's visible in the east at 12p then that would make it 9p here in AZ, right?

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trillian
Knowflake

Posts: 4050
From: The Boundless
Registered: Mar 2003

posted March 25, 2004 10:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for trillian     Edit/Delete Message
Very excited about this juniperb!
Last night was too cloudy, perhaps tonight will be clear viewing.

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juniperb
Knowflake

Posts: 6830
From: Blue Star Kachina
Registered: Mar 2002

posted March 25, 2004 11:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for juniperb     Edit/Delete Message
I found it too late for last night but I`m glued to the sky til I view it.

We`re cloudy now but I have faith it`s too rare an event for the uni-verse to allow us to miss.

juniperb

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FishKitten
Knowflake

Posts: 1033
From: on the trail of the Old Ones
Registered: Aug 2003

posted March 25, 2004 01:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FishKitten     Edit/Delete Message
I noticed the western sky was looking more sparkley than usual when I walked my dog last night just after sunset. Now I know why. I'll be out gazing tonight!

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FairyStar
Knowflake

Posts: 120
From: Spring,Tx
Registered: May 2002

posted March 25, 2004 06:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FairyStar     Edit/Delete Message
Oh no. It's so rainy outside right now. I really want to see it too.

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Nephthys
Moderator

Posts: 3800
From: California
Registered: Oct 2001

posted March 25, 2004 08:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nephthys     Edit/Delete Message
I don't know if anyone saw the Moon and Venus the other night. The Moon was in a waxing upside down crescent and Venus was shining bright right above. It was a pretty site.

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juniperb
Knowflake

Posts: 6830
From: Blue Star Kachina
Registered: Mar 2002

posted March 26, 2004 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for juniperb     Edit/Delete Message
It`s too cloudy & foggy but I`m like that little ant with 'high hopes'

juniperb

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If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. ~James Herriot

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Motherkonfessor
Knowflake

Posts: 1140
From:
Registered: Oct 2003

posted March 26, 2004 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Motherkonfessor     Edit/Delete Message
Coolness..........there is NO light pollution out here, so I will be looking. Maybe that explains why I keep wandering outside to stare at the skies.......

MK

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juniperb
Knowflake

Posts: 6830
From: Blue Star Kachina
Registered: Mar 2002

posted March 27, 2004 08:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for juniperb     Edit/Delete Message
The sky is crystal clear and the planets are visable in all their glory. Breathtaking

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If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. ~James Herriot

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