Sunday, December 03, 2006

Interesting Conjunction Upcoming:
I've already mentioned the upcoming Leonid Meteor Shower due for Dec. 13th and 14th. Another interesting astronomical events will be happening at about the same time, Dec. 7th to 14th actually. This is a triple conjunction of the planets Mercury, Mars and Jupiter in the constellation of Scorpio. The magnitudes of the three planets will be Jupiter: -1.7, Mercury: -0.6 and Mars: +1.5. As you can gather from this Mars will be quite faint, and you will need a good pair of binoculars to spot it. This is compounded by the fact that the best time for viewing will be at about 6:30 AM, and the trio will be quite low in the southeast.
There will be 40 triple conjunctions in the period 1980 to 2050 ie about one every 21 months. Some of these, however, are impossible to observe. The unique aspect of the upcoming one this Dec. is that it will be the "tightest" of any of the events ie the planets will be the closest to each other as compared to other conjunctions. The relative positions of the planets will change over the course of the week of the event.

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