May 20

Triple Planetary Alignment - 2013 May 21

On 2013 May 21 (MST), the planets Jupiter, Venus and Mercury were all visible to the naked eye during evening twilight (about 40 minutes after sunset). Mercury is noticeably higher tonight and is much easily pick out from the bright glow of twilight in spite of the clouds near the horizon. This is just the beginning of a several-week-long triple planetary alignment as all three bright planets appear together in the evening sky. The planets will move closer together each night culminating in a conspicuous triangle on the evening of May 26.

In the image above, Jupiter appears in the upper left while Venus is slightly right of center in the bottom half (above the thick clouds). Mercury is to the lower right and shining through a fortuitous gap in the clouds. The figure to the right can also be used to identify the planets on May 21. The Chirichaua Mountains form the horizon.

Complete details on this celestial event can be found on the Portal to the Universe blog post Triple Planetary Alignment. To preview how the event will change from night-to-night, see the Triple Planetary Alignment Viewing Charts.

For photos of this event, see Triple Planetary Alignment Gallery.

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