Three planets form a line in the early evening this weekend but the alignment won’t last. Mercury, Venus and Jupiter are close together low in the southwestern sky, visible less than an hour after sunset. The view is short, as they set quickly as twilight turns into night.
Venus and Jupiter are the easiest to spot, with Venus being the brightest. Venus is so bright it looks like an airplane coming in with landing lights on. Jupiter appears right underneath and it, too, is bright but not nearly as brilliant.
Look above and to the left of Venus for Mercury, one of the most challenging visible planets. Mercury isn’t as bright as its two neighbors. Plus, it is always the most challenging planet to see as it rarely gets very far from the sun. This is more of a rare moment for Mercury than the other two planets.
The appearance of these three planets together in a line is brief. The lineup breaks down and the planets go their separate ways next week.
Mercury is visible for a short time, before slipping below Venus and disappearing in the glare of the setting sun.
Jupiter is moving away from Venus and will disappear by mid-June. Jupiter was high in our sky throughout the winter and into early spring. The planet will reappear in our morning sky in summer.
Only Venus remains with us as our evening planet well into summer.
The ringed-planet Saturn is alone high in the southeastern sky after sunset. Saturn is east of the bright star Spica in the zodiacal constellation Virgo.
|Fri., May 31||5:10||8:08|
|Sat., June 1||5:09||8:09|
|Sun., June 2||5:09||8:10|
|Mon., June 3||5:08||8:10|
|Tues., June 4||5:08||8:11|
|Wed., June 5||5:08||8:12|
|Thurs., June 6||5:07||8:12|
|Fri., June 7||5:07||8:13|
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Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 66º F.