ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – Just after sunset from January 8th through the 11th you’ll be able to see three different planets in the same field of view, all at the same time. This triple conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mercury will continue to be visible over the next three nights for the first time since October of 2015, barring any cloud cover.
What’s unique about this event is that all three planets will be simultaneously visible in one field of view. It is strongly recommended to use binoculars to see these three celestial bodies shine at their best. Over the course of these three nights, Mercury will also appear to inch closer and closer, northward towards Jupiter while Saturn descends southward. By Sunday night these bodies will be close enough together to fit within a 2.5° diameter circle.
What you’ll see:
Think of this sort of like a planet conga line where they will appear at their closest together on Sunday. Jupiter will appear the brightest, then Mercury and Saturn. Try to catch this planetary trio as it changes positions throughout the sky from night to night!
NOTE: Don’t start your search for these planets much later than 45 minutes after sunset. By nightfall this trio will begin falling beneath the horizon, so don’t wait long!
Cloud cover forecast:
There looks to be more clouds around than not, but a few breaks in select spots may just be enough for a brief viewing. Although it is not 100% guaranteed the clouds will hold off for everyone.
As Mercury makes its approach to the other two giants in the sky, fresh from their 2020 conjunction, it’s sure to be a sight to see.
~Meteorologist Christine Gregory