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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Look up, look up!

Never miss an opportunity to notice the sky above your head, even here in light-blighted Los Angeles. You can get your own report directly from the URL below.

From the Griffith Park Observatory Sky Report...

Venus, Mercury, Saturn grouped in sky

This weekend the planets Venus, Mercury, and Saturn are grouped very closely together in the evening sky, and this is a wonderful opportunity to see three planets clustered tightly. It is also one of the best opportunities you will ever have to see the elusive planet Mercury.

Face west between 8:45 and 9:15 p.m., and you'll see Venus shining as the brilliant "evening star." A very short distance below Venus is the planet Saturn, which is 1-1/4 degrees to the lower left of Venus. An even shorter distance from Venus is the planet Mercury. On Saturday night, Mercury is 1/2 degree to the lower right of Venus, and the two planets are so close that the full moon would not fit between them. You can see all three planets at once through binoculars. On Sunday night, Mercury is even closer -- just 1/6 of a degree from Venus -- and you can see the two planets simultaneously through a telescope. On Monday night Mercury is the same distance to the left of Venus, and on Tuesday nighty they begin to slowly

The sky is too light before 8:45 p.m. to see the planets well, and after 9:15 they are too low to see easily. Observe from a location with a clear western horizon, and use binoculars if you have them.

Details are given in the weekly Sky Report, which you can hear 24/7 by calling 323-663-8171, or read a transcript at http://www.GriffithObs.org/skyreport.html. Diagrams that show the planets' positions are also at the web site.


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