How, when to watch a rare triple conjunction in our night sky

Pablo Tucker
January 11, 2021

Providing you were in a place that had clear skies, last month you had a chance to see the Christmas Star.

"Since then they've drifted apart to about 1º from each other, but nevertheless the effect will be arguably magnified this week as the two giant outer planets are joined by inner planet Mercury in the same 2º of sky in the constellation of Capricorn", Carter added. Jupiter and Saturn will appear low and near the horizon during the first part of January, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac.

"A grouping of three planets in a circle whose diameter spans 5 degrees or less is known as a planetary trio".

Of course, all things being Humboldt, the forecast is calling for mostly cloudy skies for the next several nights that might mar the view, but luckily 2021 is not being stingy with its cosmic offerings and another triple display - this time Mercury, Venus and Jupiter - is coming in February.

The three planets will appear right next to each other for several days, and they'll become centered on January 10, according to EarthSky. Mercury will be to the left of Saturn and Jupiter will be positioned just above Saturn.

On Jan. 13, NASA notes that skywatchers may be able to see the "thin waxing crescent Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury, low in the west-southwest" until about a half-hour after sunset, with the planets in an arc above the Moon.

It's not a regularly occurring event.

As you may recall from seeing a news story about it every single day for three months, on December 21, 2020, we were treated to a once-in-800-years "Great Conjunction," aka the "Christmas Star" aka the "Planets' Kiss". The last time a "planetary trio" happened was in October 2015, EarthSky reported.

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