Venus, Mercury and Jupiter Planetary Alignment 2013: Enjoy the Rare Sunset View - NASA [VIDEO]
By Arlene Paredes | May 22, 2013 3:52 PM EST
Stargazers may want to observe Venus, Mercury and Jupiter towards the western horizon soon after sunset. By May 24, these three planets will form a triangle that fits "within a 5-degree circle and will stay that close together until May 29."
In a report by Earthsky.org, stargazers do not need special instruments to see the three planets (Venus, Mercury and Jupiter) appearing so close together to one's view. Clear skies, unobstructed view and right timing are important to see this rare spectacle. The planets will disappear into the sky soon after the sun does.
"This grouping is especially good because Venus and Jupiter are the brightest planets, and Mercury appears brighter, too, than most stars. The planetary trio will be visible even in places with heavy urban light pollution," reads a feature on Earthsky.org.
Venus, Mercury and Jupiter Planetary Alignment: Rare Cosmic Event for Astrophotograhers
This evening twilight scene should not be missed by astrophotographers. Ready your tripod and long exposure skills. But more important, mind your location. As for clear skies, you can only keep your fingers crossed.
A NASA video clip is featured on YouTube via the ScienceAtNASA channel about this rare planetary view. Get more information about locating Venus, Mercury and Jupiter in the sky. (Scroll down to watch this clip here.)
Venus, Mercury and Jupiter Alignment: Meaning in Ancient Times, Astrology
"For the ancient Chinese, close gatherings of planets portended the end of - or at least a threat to - dynastic continuity," Anthony Aveni, an astronomy and anthropology professor at Colgate University, told Business Insider.
"The emperor would call his counsel and assess the threat, which makes sense because the planets look like they are conspiring in the sky."
In astrology, those looking for the special meaning of this planetary alignment will be glad to know "luck" comes with the rare cosmic sighting.
"Venus and Jupiter are considered 'benefic' or lucky planets, (so) this is a potentially auspicious alignment," astrologer Kelly Surtees writes.
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