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Rare Planet Show May 24 through May 30

In the next week, a rare occurrence will happen in the night sky.  The planets of Jupiter, Venus and Mercury will be low in the sky and tightly grouped, meaning you’ll be able to see all of them with the naked-eye. This won’t happen again for at least another 12 years.

Starting on Friday, May 24, all three planets will be loosely grouped.  By Sunday, May 26, they’ll be so close that holding your thumb out at arms-length will block out all three of them.  And on Monday, May 27, both Jupiter and Venus will be side by side.

Things I really didn’t know (because I either forgot it or just never paid attention in school):

  • Mercury is the solar system’s innermost planet.
  • Because of Mercury’s proximity to the sun, it is rarely in view for more than an hour after sunset or an hour before dawn.
  • The three planets may appear tightly grouped this week, they’re actually a long way from each other.  During this week in May, Mercury, Venus and Jupiter will be about 105 million miles, 150 million miles and 565 million miles away from Earth.

You can

Extrasolar planet WASP-11b/HAT-P-10b

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