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Thursday, December 07, 2006


Rare Planetary Massing, December 10-12

The eastern horizon, as seen in the Southern hemisphere, half an hour before Sunrise (clcick to enlarge).

On the mornings of Sunday 10 to Tuesday 12 December , observers can see a rare triple massing of Jupiter, Mars and Mercury close to the eastern horizon half an hour before Sunrise.

The planets will be so close that you can cover them all with your outstretched thumb. You may need binoculars to see them all though (Mars is faint and Mercury and Jupiter are very close).

On the morning of the 11th, the three planets will be closest together. As well Saturn, the Moon and Regulus, the brightest star in Leo, form an attractive triangle. This is better seen earlier on in the morning (around 3:00 am). You may also see some Geminids, this meteor shower peaks on the evening of the 14th, spilling over into the morning of the 15th. However, some meteors can be seen in the early morning of the 11th and 12th, as you wait for the three planets to rise. The radiant is in Gemini, in the northeast.

There may even be an aurora for Tasmanians and New Zealanders to see, if the most recent flare from Sunspot 930 brushes past the Earth.

D'day I am writing from Long Island New York, USA. I attempted to see the massing of Jupiter, Mars and Mercury. Observed 30-45 minutes before 7:05 dawn. So very close to the moon? Hope I was correct at what I was looking at.
Thanks for your website.
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