"The Elusive First Planet and How to Find it Easy as Pie"

Scheduled air date: 1999 Feb 22-28

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Jupiter and Venus cross paths on the evening of February 23rd, appearing about 1/4 degree apart, while Mercury approaches its greatest Eastern elongation, making it easier to find for the next week or two.
(Shown for mid-Northern latitudes about thirty minutes after Sunset.  Jupiter and Venus will be only about 1/8 degree apart at their closest, but this occurs during the afternoon daylight for North American viewers — difficult, though not impossible to see.)

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On the evening of March 1st, Jupiter will appear about halfway between Venus and Mercury...
...and on the evenings of the 5th and 6th, Jupiter and Mercury will appear about 4 degrees apart before separating once again.
(The inset represents a telescopic view of Mercury presenting a gibbous phase, much like our Moon appears near First Quarter.)

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.

Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows.

Copyright 1999-2006 by Software Bisque, Inc.