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Three Planets in Skies in May Above Pacific Northwest | Oregon, Washington Coast

Published 05/16/21 at 2:45 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Three Planets in Skies in May Above Pacific Northwest | Oregon, Washington Coast

(Oregon Coast) – Not just one or two, but three planets will be visible in the skies above Oregon, Washington and the coastlines for the month. Saturday night already saw a stellar showing of Mars right next to the waxing, crescent moon, and according to OMSI astronomer Jim Todd, you’ll see Mercury and Venus throughout the month as well.

Saturday night saw Mercury – though extremely faint – between Venus and Mars. Todd said Mercury is about 280 times less bright than Venus, so you’ll have to strain a bit.

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Sunday night sees another show above the Oregon coast, Washington coast and the inland portions of those states – which is lucky since there’s rain predicted in the night skies after that for awhile.

“On May 16, Mercury will reach greatest eastern elongation and peak visibility, 22 degrees from the sun,” Todd said. “After that, the planet will swing sunward each evening, eventually becoming more difficult to see. This is also the best time to see Mercury due to its proximity to the sun. Mercury fades from view again in early June.”

Todd said Venus will spend the rest of May low in the northwestern sky, slowly increasing its angle east of the sun from 9 degrees to 18 degrees by the end of the month. This will still be visible in early June. Moreover, Venus' brilliant -3.9 magnitude will allow it to be seen easily within the evening twilight.

“Mercury will pass only 0.4 degrees to the left of Venus on May 28, close enough to appear with Venus in a telescope eyepiece,” Todd said.

Then get ready for a powerful show at the end of the month: the supermoon goes dark orange. It’s a full lunar eclipse for the Oregon and Washington coastlines on May 26.

Look for more sightings of the two space stations: the Chinese Tianhae and the International Space Station as well. See Two Space Stations and Supermoon Eclipse Above Oregon, Washington, Coastlines 

There are no major meteor showers happening for awhile in the skies above the Oregon and Washington coasts. The Delta Aquarid show up in late July, however they only bring about 10 streaks per hour. The Perseids happen in August, and these are amazing and full of little fireballs. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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Planetary and moon conjunction above Portland a few years back

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