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Rare Planetary Trio to be Visible This Evening

By Mark Paquette, Meteorologist
May 26, 2013; 1:53 PM ET

This evening, a rare astronomical phenomenon will occur that will not be seen again until October 2015.

Venus, Jupiter and Mercury will form a bright triangle just after sunset above the western horizon. You can let the setting sun be your guide to this astronomical rarity.

It will be hard to miss this event if you are looking for it as these planets are three of the brightest objects in the night sky. Arranged so close together, these planets will be even brighter.

While visible during the evenings of Friday and Saturday, tonight will be the pinnacle of this viewing event as the triangle will be brightest with all three planets closest to each other.

For the next few nights after this, the triangle will remain visible but will be dimmer as the planets separate from one another.

This event will be bright enough to be seen in areas that typically suffer from light pollution. Even in the most urban of areas, this phenomena will be visible. The only thing that will drown this spectacular sight out will be clouds.

Planetary trios such as this are fairly rare. It has not happened since May 2011 and will not happen again until October 2015. However, a trio of planets as tightly grouped as what will occur this evening will not be repeated until 2026.

Graphic By Al Blasko,

For more information and photo sharing, visit the Astronomy Facebook Page.

Meteorologist Eric Leister contributed to this story.


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