What could be more fun that practicing some astronomy that doesn’t require dragging out a lot of special equipment or even going to a special location? That’s right… It’s conjunction time again. All it takes is knowing the right time and where to look to enjoy! Step inside and learn…
A great line-up of planets will light up the pre-dawn sky later this week. From June 19 to 21, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the Moon will put on quite a show, according to the editors of StarDate magazine.
Starting before dawn on June 19, look for Venus blazing as the ‘morning star’ due east around an hour to 45 minutes before local sunrise. Fainter Mars will be a little to its lower left, with Mercury a good bit farther to the lower left. Although Mercury looks like a bright star, it will be so low in the sky that you may need binoculars to pick it out of the lower sky haze.
The little Pleiades star cluster will stand to the upper right of Mercury, forming the shoulder of the constellation Taurus, the Bull.
The Moon will be well to the upper right of Venus and Mars on the morning of the 18th, and directly above them on the 19th. It moves closer to the Pleiades on the 20th, and a little left of Mercury on the 21st, when it will be the slimmest of crescents.
(Information and video courtesy of The University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory. Many thanks!)
Tammy was a professional astronomy author, President Emeritus of Warren Rupp Observatory and retired Astronomical League Executive Secretary. She’s received a vast number of astronomy achievement and observing awards, including the Great Lakes Astronomy Achievement Award, RG Wright Service Award and the first woman astronomer to achieve Comet Hunter’s Gold Status.
(Tammy passed away in early 2015… she will be missed)