Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn will all shine in a triple junction tonight.
Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn will gather tonight, January 10, for spectacular triple conjunction.
The heavenly attraction comes after last month’s magnificent conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn, and now Mercury has joined the party as well.
Last month’s conjunction was also called the ” Christmas Star” after it happened just days before Christmas.
Jupiter and Saturn appeared as one bright star
The two planets appeared so close together that from Earth they appeared as one bright star.
While Jupiter and Saturn seemingly almost overlapped with each other, the three planets are thought to form a small triangle instead as a result of the conjunction tonight.
LiveScience.com reports, and will fit into a circle of less than five degrees.
According to Space.com, the three planets have been in this tiny circle since Friday, Jan. 8, and will remain there until Tuesday, Jan. 12.
However, in terms of visibility, the conjunction is predicted to be low in the southwestern evening sky just 30-45 minutes after sunset this evening, and that Jupiter, Mercury and Saturn will be the closest to them today.
Jupiter will be the brightest of the three planets and will shine about two and a half times brighter than Mercury and ten times brighter than Saturn.
Jupiter will also be at the top of the triple-cross triangle, and Saturn and Mercury will create the bottom two corners.
Stargazers have been advised to use binoculars to view the rare event, as it will “help pick up the planets against the bright twilight sky.”
Although the three planets may appear quite close to each other during the conception, they are still very far apart.
At the beginning of conception a few weeks ago, Jupiter was about 550 million miles from Earth, while Saturn was about 1 billion miles away.
Mercury, however, is much closer to us earthlings and is about 120 million miles away.
Then why do they seem close together, I hear you ask? Livescience.com explains that the three planets look close together because their orbits place them all in a straight line relative to Earth.
If you miss today’s event, you might want to pay attention to something else when the Old Moon visits Venus tomorrow, Jan. 11.
According to Space.com, the pair of planets will rise around 6:40 a.m. and sit “a few fingers apart” from each other in the sky.