May 2002 sees an excellent grouping of all five naked eye planets and the moon.
Each link is a sky charting looking towards the west. The line of the horizon can be seen, as is
the line of the ecliptic (the path the sun takes). Charts are from the Skymap Pro software.
May 6th 2002 - 18:00
The Pleiades are just above the horizon. Mercury is first in the line at magnitude 0.7
Saturn (mag 0.1) Venus (blazing at mag -3.9) and Mars (mag 1.6) form a tight triangle
with each planet around 2 degrees from the other. The bright star Aldebarann is just under
7 degrees from the triangle. Jupiter (mag -2.0) is within the stars of Gemini, some 27 degrees
from the other planets. The moon doesn't rise till well after midnight.
May 7th 2002 - 18:00
Venus and Mars are closing, less than 2 degrees seperate the two.
May 8th 2002 - 18:00
Venus and Mars are less than 1.5 degrees apart. Mercury is dipping lower in the evening twilight as the
9th May 2002 - 18:00
Venus and Mars even closer
10th May 2002 - 18:00
23 arcminutes seperate Mars and Venus
11th May 2002 - 18:00
Mars dances past Venus. Note comet C/2002 F1 is is the vicinity, but is a difficult observation in the twilight.
12th May 2002 - 18:00
Day of new moon.
13th May 2002 - 18:00
The cresent moon now starts to get in the picture, however tonights observation of the moon would be difficult.
Sunset is 17:29
14th May 2002 - 18:00
The cresent moon is 2 degrees from Saturn. This should be a good sight with the earthshine from the moon.
15th May 2002 - 18:00
The moon has overtaken Mars and Venus and moving towards Jupiter.
16th May 2002 - 18:00
The moon is in Gemini with Jupiter. Mercury would be lost in the twilight, and Saturn will be following shortly.
17th May 2002 - 18:00
The moon has past the planets, however look at the lineup of the planets and moon... absolutely beautiful.
22nd May 2002 - 18:00
Almost a week later and the planets are spreading out even further. Mercury is lost and Saturn is difficult.
30th May 2002 - 18:00
Jupiter and Venus are in the heart of Gemini. They should make a fine sight with the bright "twins" of Gemini - Castor
2nd June 2002 - 18:00
Jupiter and Venus are 2.5 degrees apart. The are both blazing at mag -1.9 and -4.0
5th June 2002 - 18:00
Jupiter and Venus are still less than 3 degrees apart... the dance of the planets are coming to end for this cycle.
12th June 2002 - 18:00
A week a later and the cresent moon is back. The observation of the moon and Mars on this night is very difficult being
40 minutes after sunset (17:19)