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Three and a Half Planets Tomorrow Morning

If you’ve got clear weather for the next 18 hours or so and a good eastern horizon, set the alarm a little early for tomorrow and head outside just before dawn. Mercury, Venus, and Saturn will be lined up in a vertical row, with the Moon off to one side a little toward the south. There’s nothing historical or unprecedented about the conjunction (which isn’t hugely close) but it’s a chance to take in three planets at one tight glance, assuming you can see clear down to the horizon. Mercury never gets very high nor very bright, but it has two unmistakable pointers aiming right at it: Follow the line from Saturn toward the horizon past Venus a little more than twice the distance between Saturn and Venus, and it’ll be there.

My horizons have been lousy in recent days, but, ever hopeful, I’ll be out on the small deck with binoculars about 6:30 tomorrow morning. Mercury will be the first of the group to drown in the rising light, so don’t wait too long!

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