Mars and Jupiter conjunction – plus hottest part of summer

Desert Gypsy's picture, 7/19/13

Watch for the great Mars and Jupiter pairing on the mornings of Sunday, July 21 and Monday, July 22..

Look eastward before or at morning dawn on Sunday, July 21, and Monday, July 22, for the close coupling of the planets Mars and Jupiter. From most places around the world, Mars and Jupiter will be less than one degree apart on these two days. That’s about the width of your little finger at an arm length. Of course, Mars and Jupiter are not actually close together in space. They just happen to reside near the same line of sight. Mars lies about 2.4 astronomical units away from Earth whereas Jupiter lodges about 6 astronomical units away. One astronomical unit = the sun/Earth distance = 149,597,871 kilometers = 92,955,807 miles.

You may need to use binoculars to see fainter Mars by brilliant Jupiter. Find a clear horizon in the direction of sunrise and look for the close-knit luminaries to climb above the horizon some 1.5 hours or more before sunrise. If you’re not much of an early bird, then watch for the close pairing of the planet Venus with the star Regulus in the western sky at dusk, or about an hour after sunset

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