July 20, 2010

A FINE PLANETARY SHOW IN JULY-AUGUST



The planets Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn meet together in the western evening sky just after sunset. On the evening of July 20th, around 8:30pm, Mercury is very low in the west; Venus is in Leo, looking brilliant. Mars and Saturn are in Virgo, very close to each other (5 deg. 47’).

On July 25th, after sunset, Mars (mag.1.45) will be only 9’58” from the 3.5th magnitude star Beta Virgo. Both can fit within my 8-inch telescope operating at 165x! On the 27th at evening, Mercury (mag.0.06) will be just 31’20” away from Alpha Leonis, or Regulus, again a beautiful scene for high magnification telescopes.

After this on 31st of July at dusk, Mars and Saturn will be paired at only 1 deg. 46’ distance! This will be a nice view for the binocular observers! The planets will remain together further in August. There will a mind-blowing scene on the evening of August 13th at around 8:30pm. The three planets Mars, Venus & Saturn will form an elongated triangle. Also a 4 days old, Waxing Crescent Moon will add more beauty to them.

-Rahul Zota

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