Conjunction of Three Planets

September 16, 2016


Photographer: Yuri Beletsky 
Summary Authors: Yuri Beletsky; Jim Foster

Shown above is an amazing conjunction of three planets as observed from Las Campanas Observatory, Chile, on August 28, 2016. Brilliant Venus (the brightest), Jupiter (second brightest, below) and Mercury (far left) are clumped together, forming a right triangle, glowing in the twilight sky. Venus and Jupiter were less than one degree from each other.

At an altitude of 8,200 ft (2,500 m) the thin atmosphere, lack of light pollution and very dry air of Las Campanas permits nearly ideal viewing conditions. Note the foggy Andean valley, part of Atacama Desert, in the foreground. Closer to the apricot-colored horizon, a blanket of clouds covers the Pacific Ocean.