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Upcoming Sky Show
May 22, 2013 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Triple conjunction. The long-awaited sunset sky show of May 2013 is beginning. In only a few days, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury will form a tight triangle in the western sky, visible to the unaided eye around the world.
posted by Long Way To Go (23 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
May 11th through 13th, when the crescent Moon, Venus, and Jupiter form a long diagonal line jutting upward from the sunset;

I noticed that the other day on my way home from work. It was so nifty-looking that my first thought was "this was totally photoshopped".
posted by elizardbits at 3:39 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Am I the only one who heard this in a jovial Jack Horkheimer voice and hears Tomita's version of Debussy's Arabesque #1

R.I.P.
posted by symbioid at 3:42 PM on May 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


Ooh! I saw a nifty thing on PBS the other night, so now I know to look out for this. They had three scientist-types silhouetted against a time-lapse sky, so you can identify all three planets as they are moving into a triangle - it was neat enough to see on tv, can't wait to see it for real.
posted by polly_dactyl at 3:45 PM on May 22, 2013


And thanks to a cold front from Alaska, we will likely miss it here in Seattle.

I have been loving dragging out my telescope to look at Jupiter when it's clear, and seeing how the big four Galilean moons have moved each night. I have an old Meade spotting scope, a Maksutov Cassegrain reflector/refractor that's great for watching our hummingbird but not so much for stargazing. It can't track. The moon and planets just shoot across the view lickety-split.

And as Jupiter sets, Saturn is rising and I can whip the scope around and see the rings of Saturn at about their maximum extension. Jupiter looks the size of a pencil tip eraser held at arm's length and Saturn looks like a Saturn shaped earring at twice that but there is something so magical about seeing them enlarged mechanically. Everyone who looks at them through that scope says exactly the same thing -- Wow! That is so-o-o cool!

I am truly sad I will miss this alignment. And soon there will be only Saturn to look at after sunset. At least until the wee hours. I am bummed about that, too.
posted by y2karl at 3:51 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll just leave this here.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:02 PM on May 22, 2013


Am I the only one who heard this in a jovial Jack Horkheimer voice and hears Tomita's version of Debussy's Arabesque #1

Came here to say pretty much this. Man, I miss that guy.
posted by chrominance at 4:13 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


charlie don't surf: and what do we do with that?
posted by edd at 4:14 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pro tip: If you're observing the event from Yosemite Mountain, wondering what it all means, don't record your astonishment; however, if you must, don't put it on YouTube.
posted by resurrexit at 4:18 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Every time stuff lines up along the ecliptic to show off for me I get giddy - I'm standing on an angle! The earth IS actually round after all!
posted by xiw at 4:20 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't remember the last time I saw a Gelfling, we're screwed.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:49 PM on May 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Got my crystal shard at the ready.
posted by sourwookie at 4:59 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


and what do we do with that?

You note that at the indicated time, Mercury and Jupiter are at the exact same degree of the Ecliptic, with Venus less than 2 degrees away. You might also note that about a day later, Venus and Jupiter are at the exact degree of the Ecliptic, and Mercury is within 2 degrees. You might want to look at these moments in a planetarium program like Stellarium which can plot the Ecliptic and the planetary orbits.

Additionally, that chart indicates other interesting phenomenon, such as the Lunar Eclipse and May 20, Uranus squared Pluto which is supposedly a portent of worldwide political restructuring.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:20 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


*bites tongue*
posted by edd at 5:30 PM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Information for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere.
posted by unliteral at 5:31 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is this going to be as big a letdown life-changing deal as the Harmonic Convergence was in 1987?
posted by wenestvedt at 6:35 PM on May 22, 2013


Came in to check on the status of Dark Crystal references in the thread, was not disappointed.

Did anyone else think the Skeksis had much better job titles than the Uru?
posted by Ghidorah at 6:45 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


What, "Cook" doesn't ring your bell?
posted by Brocktoon at 7:49 PM on May 22, 2013


Dark Crystal had such an awesome orrery.
posted by The otter lady at 7:52 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


skekAyuk the Gourmand vs. urAmaj the Cook

skekUng the Garthim-Master vs. urIm the Healer

no contest.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:52 PM on May 22, 2013


All I know is that my moment is ascendant - The stars are almost right.

Despair to you, unbelievers.
posted by Samizdata at 12:08 AM on May 23, 2013


It was awesome to see this last night.
posted by unliteral at 5:32 PM on May 26, 2013


I forgot it was happening, saw it accidentally, forgot why it seemed familiar, and became extremely suspicious about possible inception.
posted by elizardbits at 2:45 PM on May 27, 2013


I have a little after-work ritual now. Each evening I get a glass of wine and a cigarette and sit out on the balcony with my binoculars and spend half an hour gazing at the planets. I'm loving it. They were in a straight line, with Jupiter on top last night.
posted by unliteral at 5:07 PM on May 30, 2013


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