Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2005 June 24
See Explanation.
Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version.
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Planets in the West
Credit & Copyright: Jimmy Westlake (Colorado Mountain College)

Explanation: This weekend three planets will grace the western sky, forming a lovely trio easily visible shortly after sunset. Saturday evening in particular will find Saturn, Venus, and Mercury all within a 2 degree circle (about the size of your thumb held at arm's length) above the western horizon. Recorded last Sunday, June 19, this image shows the same three planets arrayed along the ecliptic plane above a Colorado Rocky Mountain skyline. Venus is easiest to pick out of the twilight, the brightest celestial beacon below picture center, with Saturn above and to the left of Venus, and Mercury closest to the horizon, right of prominent Pinnacle Peak. By Saturday, the wandering planets will draw even closer together. For help spotting the planets here, put your cursor over the picture.

Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend

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