Triple Conjunction

Sunday, December 10, 2006
7:11 am EST
Canon EOS 300D Digital Rebel
EXPOSURES: 0.5 second @ ISO 400
Richland Township Park
Tele Vue Pronto 70 mm refractor (with Focal Reducer/Field Flattener) on an unguided equatorial mount
Levels and curves adjusted with Adobe Photoshop 7.0
A rare triple conjunction of Jupiter, Mercury, and Mars occurred in early December shortly before sunrise.  According to reports, three planets haven't been this close together since 1925 and they won't be again until 2029.  So, I was shocked that it was actually going to be (mostly) clear during the early morning hours of December 9 and 10.  The brightest object visible is Jupiter.    Mercury is only 0.3° above Jupiter.  To the right of the close pair is distant Mars, which completes the tiny triagnle of planets.   Mars even has a hint of red if you look closely.  Beta Scorpii is just visible to the upper left of Mercury.