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Starwatch: Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury line up with moon

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Starwatch: Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury line up with moon” was written by Stuart Clark, for The Guardian on Monday 8th March 2021 06.00 UTC

Starwatch chart Monday 6 March 2021

There is a beautiful alignment of three planets and the moon in the pre-dawn sky this week but it is best viewed from the southern hemisphere.

The chart shows the view looking east at 6am (AEDT) on 10 March from Sydney, Australia. On this morning, the moon will be a slender crescent with just 13% of its visible hemisphere illuminated. The lit portion will point in the direction of the planets. Saturn is the highest in altitude, and the closest in appearance to the moon. It is also the faintest of the triplet. Jupiter comes next, conspicuously the brightest planet on display. Elusive Mercury is the lowest in altitude but second in brightness.

This is an excellent opportunity to see Mercury, which never strays too far from the sun. As an added bonus, the grouping spans the length of the faint zodiacal constellation of Capricornus, the goat. So, those with dark skies can use the planets as markers to help them make out the shape of the constellation. Unfortunately, the further north you are located, the lower the grouping will appear to be. From the UK, only the moon is likely to be visible in the dawn sky but the beautiful crescent will still be well worth seeing.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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