Friday, January 8, 2021


 Hey Space Placers!


Here is what the Planetary Trio looked like 1/9/21 at 5:50 PM EST:

Greg Redfern

Binoculars really help in finding the trio with Jupiter being easiest to find. Once locked in on Jupiter, look just lower to find Mercury. As they get lower towards the horizon and it gets darker, Saturn will become visible. You REALLY have to have a clear horizon to the SW to see the trio at their best.

If you enjoyed the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn last month, the two gas giants are still fairly close in the southwest (SW) sky after sunset.

If you look in the SW today, 1/8/21, shortly after sunset,  the two are being joined by the elusive to see planet Mercury.

Mercury will be getting higher in the sky the next few days and will form a cosmic triangle - known as a planetary trio - with Jupiter and Saturn. They will be grouped closest together on 1/10/21.

Start looking about a half hour after sunset. The trio will be low in the sky and your best chance to see them will be to find a viewing site that has a clear view of the SW. Binoculars will help immensely in your search and enhance your viewing.

Jupiter will be brightest with Mercury next, and then Saturn. 

Mercury will continue to rise higher in the sky in January and the young Waxing Crescent Moon will join the view in the SW on the 14th as a very thin crescent. 

Finding the planetary trio will not be as easy as the Great Conjunction was due to the glow of sunset and their lower positioning in the sky. But it will be worth your effort. 

Try to follow Mercury's swift appearance in the sky as it will become easier to find as January progresses. Many people throughout time have seen Mercury but mistook it for a star. Become an earthling that spotted the Winged Messenger and knew it to be the planet closest to the Sun!

Mercury at Sunset

Greg Redfern

Here's to clear skies!

Sky Guy in VA

1 comment:

  1. Greg, I'll be sure to go out and look tonight. We have been getting clear skies here in NM. I have realized that due to the low position in the sky, it's a bit fuzzy and soft. Hard to get sharp least with my equipment.