Planetary conjunction: Venus, Jupiter, Mars converge in morning sky

Three planets will converge for a beautiful close encounter in the eastern sky about an hour before dawn for the next couple of days.

3 planets so close together are 'rare and beautiful sight'

This week, Venus, Jupiter and Mars appear at their closest together in the sky for 2015. Such close gatherings of planets are sometimes called planetary conjunctions. (NASA)

Three planets will converge for a beautiful close encounter in the eastern sky about an hour before dawn for the next couple of days.

This week, Venus and Jupiter — the two brightest objects in the night sky after the moon — and Mars appear at their closest together in the sky for 2015, forming a tight triangle near the constellation Leo in the early morning. Such close gatherings of planets are sometimes called planetary conjunctions.

Because all three planets are within five degrees of one another, if you look at them with binoculars, you'll be able to see all three at the same time, something NASA calls "a rare and beautiful sight."

If you steady your binoculars with a tripod, you may even be able to see three or four of Jupiter's biggest moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, NASA says.

Venus is by far the brightest of the three planets, followed by Jupiter. Both will still be visible very close to sunrise.

To view Mars, though, you might need to get up an hour or more before sunrise, advises the astronomy website EarthSky, as the Red Planet is much fainter than Venus.

The three planets have been gathered closely since Oct. 24 and will stay in a tight triangle until Oct. 29 (so don't worry too much if it's cloudy tomorrow morning — you'll get another chance). After that, they will gradually move away from one another.

According to the astronomy site EarthSky, there won't be another such "planetary trio" again until January 2021.

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