It’s Pwanet Season!
The next week or so is a great time to see planets as four of the five naked eye planets are easily visible to the naked eye. Mars is high in the sky as evening falls and Saturn is rising in the east. The real action is going on the in western sky right after sunset as Mercury and Venus are having a close encounter.
Mercury is normally pretty hard to see as it never gets very far from the Sun. Near the spring equinox, however, the ecliptic rises very steeply with respect to the horizon allowing Mercury to climb a little higher in the sky than usual. This time of year is the best to see Mercury…and we have Venus handy to help point the way.
Mercury is to the lower right of Venus now and will get closer to Venus until April 3/4th. Mercury will then start pulling away and get dimmer rapidly. You can find a chart at Sky and Telecope’s web site. But why look at a chart when I can show you. Here is what they looked like tonight from Tucson (as usual, click to embiggen).
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