Planetary grouping continues this week

Richard

Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn are all visible in the evening skies this week. Mercury sits alone near the Sun, but Venus, Mars and Saturn are grouping together. Mercury is 25 degrees away from the Sun and 20 degrees away from the other planets. Venus, Mars and Saturn are all within 10 degrees of each other, with Mars and Saturn less than two degrees apart.

Mercury will be  the most difficult to see, setting a few minutes before 10 pm. It is in Leo at magnitude +0.2.
Venus will be the brightest at magnitude -4, and sets just after 10:30 pm.
Mars sets at about 11 pm, and has a reddish color to it.
Saturn sits atop Mars, and is less than 2 degrees away by the coming weekend.

4 planets at 9:30 pm, MDT, July 30th, 2010

4 planets at 9:30 pm, MDT, July 30th, 2010

Jupiter rises shortly after 11 pm at a very bright magnitude -2.7. Look for a waning Gibbous Moon 6 degrees from Jupiter on Friday night.

This nice planetary grouping will continue into the next week, but the grouping gets closer and closer to the horizon, making it more difficult to see.

In mid-August a young Moon will join the trio in a spectacular site.

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