Planets align in cosmic show

27 June 2005 | 15:53 Code : 5278 Geoscience events
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This week star gazers will be able to witness a rare cosmic event, with three planets lining up in a "twilight" display, which can be seen without the aid of telescopes.

This week star gazers will be able to witness a rare cosmic event, with three planets lining up in a "twilight" display, which can be seen without the aid of telescopes.

Jane Morgan from the Cosmos Centre and Observatory in south-west Queensland says Venus, Mercury and Saturn will come together in a natural phenomenon.

"Mercury and Saturn being the twilight stars, they actually disappear when full dark comes so that we don't actually see those two planets very often," Ms Morgan said.

"We certainly don't see Mercury very often because it is so close to the sun and the influence of the sun often hides it from us, so to actually have it moving away from that influence a little bit joining Venus and Saturn in the sky is really lovely."

Ms Morgan says tourists from across Australia are enjoying special sessions at the Charleville complex.

"So that's pretty exciting we're getting a lot of visitors," Ms Morgan said.

"We've had people in here from South Australia, Western Australia, NSW, Victoria, south-east Queensland."

The centre says the planets will be closely aligned in the western sky for the rest of the week.

Andre Clayden from the Springbrook Research Observatory, in the Gold Coast hinterland, says the planets have been forming a triangle for the past few nights, but tonight they will align within a tenth of a degree.

Mr Clayden says the best time to see the "celestial event of the year" is about half an hour after sunset, low down in the north-west skies.

"This is the first time that I've witnessed it, that's for sure," Mr Clayden said.

"It's one thing you don't need is a telescope or a pair of binoculars to be able to see it - just with the old naked eye - should be able to reveal it really well.

"There was a few stargazers last night having a little look."


tags: QAZVIN


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