MORNING PLANET SHOW: Set your alarm for dawn. Venus, Jupiter and Mars are gathering for a three-way close encounter in the early morning sky. Yesterday, Jeff Dai woke up early and photographed the convergence from Yading, China:
"At 6 am, Venus, Jupiter and Mars were rising just above the Xianuodukji peak at Yading national natural reserve in the province of Sichuan," says Dai. "The view was spectacular."
It's about to become even more spectacular. From Oct. 24th to Oct. 29th the converging planets will fit together inside a circle only 5o wide (sky maps: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6). This means you can see all three planets at once using typical binoculars. Of course, you can also see the three planets with the naked eye. It is extra-cool, however, to frame the planets in a single binocular field of view. Wake up early and check it out.
The brightest planets in the sky—Venus, Jupiter and Mars —will converge this week above the eastern horizon at dawn. It will be their closest gathering until 2018.