Oregon Astronomy: Portland, Coast Can See Dance of Planets
Earth – and Oregon and its coast – are about to witness a rare planetary conjunction, nicknamed the “Dance of the Planets.” (Above: stars near Cannon Beach)
It will reach its climax between now and May 29, as Mercury, Venus and Jupiter get much closer to each other and appear to engage in a kind of interplanetary dance. They will come as close as within five degrees of each other – but later getting within one degree on May 28 and 29.
Then, on May 31, all three planets will align into a straight line and begin to move away from each. (Above: Manzanita)
NASA says to look to the western sky at sunset on these days – which may be a bit difficult on some days in Oregon during the next week, as the weather won't allow you to do so on every day of the week. However, this gives more reasons to check out the sunsets on the Oregon coast and keep an eye on those skies just afterward.
The best time to view these interstellar dances is a half hour to an hour after sunset.
Venus, Jupiter and Mercury are the brightest planets visible on Earth. NASA said this triple conjunction is fairly rare, with the last one having occurred in 2011. The next one won't happen until 2015. (Above: Depoe Bay)
Those in Portland and other larger Oregon cities will also get good views. NASA said these are bright enough to be quite visible even in areas where street lights can interfere with normal star viewing.
See Oregon coast weather conditions and forecasts here, including the individual predictions for Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldports and Yachats.
Above: stars and sundown near Yachats.
Night scene above Newport.
Pacific City at night.
Rockaway Beach and the stars.
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