The action remains glued to the morning sky. We’re talking 6:00 AM. Normally, planet conjunctions happen for one or two days and then the heavens move on. Not now. Bright, eye catching, these in-your-face planet configurations keep lighting up the predawn theater like a hit Broadway play.
Don’t bother looking at the calendar or figuring out which morning is best. Just grab the first clear morning. Look east at 6:00 AM or even 6:30. The action isn’t even very low. It’s no challenge.
Weekend of October 24 through 25
Two brilliant stars grab your attention. They’re the brightest in the heavens. Except they’re not stars. The brightest is the cloudy planet Venus, the other is giant Jupiter. In the dawn of Sunday, October 25 and Monday, October 26, these two planets dance together in the sky.
Dawn of Monday, October 26
Before dawn, Venus and Jupiter have their conjunction, meeting just 1.1° apart. Mars is very nearby. In fact, October 26 is the closest grouping of the three planets for all of 2015. Venus also reaches a huge milestone, reaching its greatest western elongation, so it will be highest point in the sky and the farthest from the sunrise.
Mercury has been putting on its best show of 2015, but now it gets very low. Unless you have an oceanically unobstructed eastern horizon, you can start forgetting that innermost world and concentrate on the higher up, easier stuff.
Week of October 26 through November 1
Each morning Venus and Jupiter are now a little farther apart.
Below the two planets is a much less brilliant orange star, and this is Mars. It looks downright dim compared to those others. A lot of people are thinking about Mars these days, thanks to the hit movie. And here it is in fact rather than fiction.
Each morning Mars gets a little higher and Venus a little lower. Next week they’ll practically touch.
Also next week, the Moon spectacularly enters the scene and crowds the planets. So this celestial repertory theater will extend its run a bit longer.