After spending the week glued to the TV and our devices, we could all enjoy a screen break. Thankfully, the night sky has quite a weekend of fun planned for us, in the form of a rare tri-planet conjunction featuring Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn. The last time this particular combination happened was in October 2015. Here’s what you need to know about it astronomical highlight of the weekend, and how to see certain planets.
Don’t we just have a planetary conjunction?
As you may recall after seeing a report about this every day for three months, on December 21, 2020, we were treated to a “Great conjunction” once in 800 years, aka the “Christmas Star” aka the “Planets’ Kiss. This only involved two planets (Jupiter and Saturn), although they were unbelievably close together. the one this weekend features these two planets, plus Mercury, but won’t be as rare as last month’s.
How to look at the conjunction of the three planets
The meeting of the three planets actually started last night and is visible tonight, tomorrow (Sunday) evening and Monday evening. All of the planets will emerge low in the west – near sunset on the horizon – with Jupiter being the brightest of the three, followed by Mercury and then Saturn, selon EarthSky. The tightest grouping of the planets will take place tomorrow night.
If there is a clear sky in your area, you should be able to see the conjunction without binoculars, but if you have them, you might as well use them to get an even better view. The best time to catch the conjunction is right after sunset, which makes it nice and early for kids to have a look at before bed.
And if you miss this three-planet conjunction, another is coming next month, with Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter.