May 23

Triple Planet Composite - 2013 May 23

The planets Jupiter, Venus and Mercury were all visible during evening twilight on May 23. Mercury climbs higher each night and is quickly catching up with Venus. This is part 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.

The image above is a multiple exposure composite of 12 separate photos that were shot over a period of 12 minutes. Jupiter appears in the upper left while Venus and Mercury are to the lower right. The multiple images for each planet are due to Earth's rotation which causes each planet to move through the sky.

The figure to the right can be used to identify the planets on May 23. The Chirichaua Mountains appear along 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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