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  • September 25, 2017

Planets visible to the naked eye - September 25, 2017

  • Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium
Photo: Sophie Desrosiers

From September 25 to October 9, 2017

Mercury appears lower and lower above the eastern horizon at dawn, about 20 minutes before sunrise. The tiny planet vanishes in the Sun’s glare during the last mornings of September. Mercury passes behind the Sun (superior conjunction) on October 8 and will gradually emerge in the evening sky in early November.

Venus is the bright Morning Star, shining above the eastern horizon at the end of the night and at dawn; Venus rises more than 2 hours before the sun. Follow the motion of Mars, as the much fainter Red Planet slowly pulls away from the Sun and climbs toward Venus: on the morning of October 5, the two planets are less than ¼ degree apart, and visible in the same telescopic field of view! The lunar crescent will be near Venus on the mornings of October 17 and 18.

Mars is slowly emerging from the sun’s glare and climbs toward dazzling Venus in the morning sky: on the morning of October 5, the two planets appear less than ¼ degree apart, and visible in the same telescopic field of view! The lunar crescent will hang just one degree to the left of the Red Planet on the morning of October 17.

Jupiter is increasingly difficult to pick out, very low in the west-southwest, a few minutes after sunset. The Giant Planet is sinking in the glow of sunset and vanishes in the sun’s glare early in October. Jupiter will pass behind the Sun (conjunction) on October 26, and will gradually reappear at dawn during the second week of November.

Saturn appears at dusk, some 20 degrees above the south-southwest horizon, and vanishes in the southwest after 9:30 p.m. The crescent moon will hang less than 3 degrees above the Ringed Planet on the evening of September 26.

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