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The Shallow Sky

We Survived

Akkana Peck

Well, we survived the Millenial Great Planet Alignment and came out without a scratch. The downside of this is that now most of the planets, being more or less in line with the sun, are still visible only at dawn or dusk, making for not a great season for planet watchers.

Mercury makes an evening appearance this month, starting at about half phase and fading to a slim and difficult-to-spot crescent as it moves back toward the sun later in the month.

Jupiter and Saturn are only a few degrees apart in the predawn sky. Their low altitude makes them unimpressive targets for telescopic observations, but they should be a pretty naked-eye sight for earlybirds.

Uranus and Neptune are visible in the late evening sky, in Capricornus; faint Pluto, in Ophiuchus, rises earlier and is very well placed for ambitious observers this month. Try humming Christine Lavin's "Planet X", a song about the discovery of Pluto, for inspiration as you hunt down this faint point of light.

Mail to: Akkana Peck
Copyright © 2000 San Jose Astronomical Association
Last updated: July 19, 2007

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