Evening Trio of Planets

Look to the west right after dark this evening to see 3 (and maybe even 4!) planets grouped closely together. Fred Quintao (Brazil) shared his image of the 4 planets taken on August 3rd. Venus is the bright one with Mars and Saturn above and to the right and Mercury below and halfway to the horizon.

Image of Venus, Mars, Saturn and Mercury from Brazil on August 3rd. Credit and courtesy of: Fred Quintao.

Here in the northern hemisphere the ecliptic is at a shallow angle to the horizon. The Stellarium plot below shows the view for tonight. Venus is the brightest object in the sky after sunset so it should be relatively easy to find. Saturn is almost directly above Venus while Mars is further away to the upper left. If you have a clear view of the horizon and look early enough you can also glimpse Mercury.

Later this month after Saturn has sunk out of view, Venus and Mars will make another triple pairing with the bright star Spica. The brightest star in Virgo, Spica is visible to upper right of the current trio.

Star chart for the evening of August 5th. Produced with Stellarium.


    1. Hi Fred,

      Thanks for sharing your images! Please share more on any event in the sky.

      Also thanks for mentioning Vesta. I forgot to include it in today’s blog post but I’ll add something about it tomorrow.

      Keep up the good work,
      – Carl

  1. Hi Carl,
    I will try more photos tomorrow and next week.

    By the way I have one photo of the conjunction plus Vesta.
    It was taken on Aug 2nd, at 10h50 pm UTC.

    The file is pretty big (10MB) because I edited it to add a mark with the position of Vesta, but you can try it out: http://homepages.dcc.ufmg.br/~fred/vesta.png

    This is the corresponding map from Stellarium with the field view a few minutes later (11h23pm): http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_KpEPbzNZTLU/TFr6x4R5TII/AAAAAAAADD4/3RAR5bOos08/s1600/stellarium-002.png

    (actually I took the photo on Monday but only noticed Vesta on it yesterday! What a coincidence!)

    I enjoyed your blog a lot, shared it with several friends (amateur astronomers) in Brazil.

    Best wishes,

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