Evening Trio of Planets
August 5, 2010 4 Comments
Look to the west right after dark this evening to see 3 (and maybe even 4!) planets grouped closely together. Fred Quintao (Brazil) shared his image of the 4 planets taken on August 3rd. Venus is the bright one with Mars and Saturn above and to the right and Mercury below and halfway to the horizon.
Here in the northern hemisphere the ecliptic is at a shallow angle to the horizon. The Stellarium plot below shows the view for tonight. Venus is the brightest object in the sky after sunset so it should be relatively easy to find. Saturn is almost directly above Venus while Mars is further away to the upper left. If you have a clear view of the horizon and look early enough you can also glimpse Mercury.
Later this month after Saturn has sunk out of view, Venus and Mars will make another triple pairing with the bright star Spica. The brightest star in Virgo, Spica is visible to upper right of the current trio.