Get your binoculars ready, stargazers. This weekend, Mercury will join Jupiter and Saturn – also known as the Christmas star – to form the triple conjunction where all three planets appear to be very closely aligned.
“From Friday evening to Monday evening, the planet Mercury will appear to pass first by Saturn and then by Jupiter as it shifts away from the horizon, visible each evening low in the west-southwest and setting before evening twilight ends,” NASA said on their website. The last time Jupiter and Saturn were that close was 1226 A.D., almost 800 years ago. While it is not as rare as the Christmas Star was, you won’t want to miss it. The triple conjunction last occurred over five years ago in October 2015.
In addition to the one happening this weekend, the same triple conjunction will occur on February 13. The next one will be in 2026 when Mercury, Mars, and Saturn cross paths, and in 2028 when Mercury, Venus, and Mars come together.
The best time to view the triple conjunction will be about 30 minutes after sunset when it is just dark enough to see the planets shine. According to the New York Post, people wishing to view the phenomenon should find a clear horizon and position their binoculars or telescopes to the west-southwest horizon.
From our vantage point, the planets will seem very close in proximity. However, they are still hundreds of millions of miles apart in the solar system. Each planet is on a track of sorts, and they pass each other throughout the years as they orbit the sun. As Mercury is closest to the sun, it can be involved in more planetary alignments than Jupiter or Saturn, the 5th and 6th planets in our solar system. Barring any inclement weather, the conjunction should be visible clearly from the earth.
We hope this information on The Triple Conjunction is helpful to you.
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