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South Texas Stargazing

Planetary triangle and what you're really seeing

10 Aug 2010, 04:06 UTC
Planetary triangle and what you're really seeing
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

For the next few nights you will, or if you haven't already heard of a planetary conjunction going on in the West right after sunset.

There you will see the planets Mars, Venus, and Saturn forming a nice triangle in the sky that will look like they are almost on top of one another.

In reality, they aren't close, even by a long shot!

Let me explain:

First off, all three and including the planet that we are taking a ride on all circle that big ball of fusion that we call the Sun, and if you are out looking at the conjunction, it has just set. So if you can imagine, that the paths for all three planets you are looking at curve towards the Sun.

Now take the brightest object first, that's Venus. It is about 71 million miles from the Earth. It's current distance is just a little bit on this side of the Sun from where we are located. The light you are getting from this bright object left Venus about six and a half minutes ago.

Next is Mars, and it is about 189 million miles away. That little orange dot you are looking ...

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