Gathering of Planets at Dusk
September 12, 2002
The above photo was taken this past spring (May 10), when for the first time since February of 1940, five planets were visible in the western sky at dusk. The gathering of these planets; (from lower right to upper center) Mercury, Venus (the brightest), Saturn, Mars (the dimmest), and Jupiter was the beginning of a delightful night of observing with my 15" telescope. The close grouping of five planets is a relatively rare event; the next good one won't occur until September of 2040! Currently, only Venus and Mercury are visible at dusk in the western sky. See also the Earth Science Picture of the Day for May 29, 2002.