Couldn’t get to Egypt to see the planets hovering over the Pyramids of Giza at dawn earlier this week? Cloudy skies or a work schedule that wouldn’t allow a dawn sashay?
Good news. You still have plenty of time to see some great planetary lineups. Unlike eclipses and some meteor showers, planet pairings can linger for days. While Mercury, Venus and Saturn may not be equally spaced as they were on Dec. 3, they still form a delightful connect-the-dots alignment along with the star Spica an hour before sunrise. With a visitation by the thinning crescent moon beginning tomorrow, you have all the ingredients for a series of special events worth a smidge of sleep loss.
Tomorrow’s garland-like arrangement of planets, star and moon is arguably more striking than Monday’s highly publicized alignment of Saturn, Venus and Mercury. Look at how nicely these celestial orbs are strung out across the dawn sky. To see them all, make sure you’re somewhere with a wide open view to the south-southeast.
Then on the 9th, the moon passes little more than a degree (two moon diameters) south of Virgo’s brightest star Spica (SPY-kuh). Saturn will be 4 degrees north of the moon the following morning, and on Dec. 11, a pleasing thin crescent glides just a degree and a half south of Venus.
Enjoy these sights while you can. I hear the end of the world’s coming on Dec. 21. We’ll look at why that’s not likely to happen in a blog I’m hoping to write tomorrow. If there is a tomorrow …