Have you been watching the conjunction of Venus and Mercury? Right now the inner planets are putting on quite a show just after sunset…
If you missed Mercury at its closest to Venus and brightest this weekend, don’t worry. The pair will still be mixing it up in the twilight sky through April 12. What will really be fun is watching the orbital path over the next week. Thanks to Sky & Telescope Magazine, you’ve got a wonderful diagram to help you see visualize the orientation. Don’t give up if you don’t spot Mercury right away, because even the slightest amount of sky haze can conceal it. Instead, try using binoculars to assist you… and use a telescope to pick out the phases of both planets!
And don’t forget… There is more than one planetary pair dancing right now, too! As the skies darken, be sure to look higher overhead as Mars and Saturn take their posts at either end of Leo the Lion. It’s a spectacular evening showing that doesn’t even require a telescope!
Many thanks to Mike Romine for the conjunction photo and to Sky and Telescope for the planetary diagram.