Watch 3 planets aligned with the moon this week – CBS Boston
Boston (CBS) – Fall evenings are some of the best evenings of the year for sky viewing. Clear and calm nights, free from summer mists and pollutants, create amazing conditions for viewing all kinds of fun things in the night sky. From space station flights to meteor showers and different planets, there’s just so much going on this month!
You may have noticed some bright stars near the moon over the past few nights. These, in fact, are not stars at all, they are planets! If you look to the southwest tonight after sunset, it is better to wait until about an hour after sunset (about 530 pm), you will clearly see three planets in a diagonal line along with the first quarter of the moon! For the most part, you don’t need a telescope or even binoculars, you can see it with the naked eye. . . Believe me, you can’t miss it!
I have more good news: If you miss Wednesday night, the show will run for several nights to come.
The planets will stay in roughly the same position each night, but the moon will move upward in diameter each night. Venus will be the closest planet to the horizon, followed by Saturn in its upper left. Jupiter completes the assortment in the upper left of Saturn. The moon will be just to the left of the diameter but higher and higher every night. A few hours after sunset on Wednesday night, it will appear next to Saturn. At the same time on Thursday it will appear closer to Jupiter and by Friday it will be higher than all the planets, essentially joining the lineup!
Something to think about as you stare at the moon and planets for the next few nights: While the moon appears to be very close to Saturn and Jupiter, it really isn’t, just a matter of perspective. According to Sky and Telescope, Saturn is about 4,000 times farther from Earth than the Moon and about 35 times larger in diameter. Jupiter is 1900 times farther from Earth than the Moon and 41 times larger!
Coming next week, the Leonid Meteor shower – one of the most famous parties of the year. Leonids has produced some of the best shows in the past years, sometimes reaching several thousand per hour. This year isn’t expected to be nearly as dramatic, and the adorable moon will weaken the show a bit. Under prime conditions, some of us might get a glimpse of 5-10 “stars” per hour. The best time to view it next week will be the pre-dawn hours of November 17, just after the moon sets. More on that next week!
If you happen to take any pictures of the moon, planets, or meteors, we’d love to see them! Send it to [email protected]
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