Alan Dyer
Image taken:
May. 7, 2011
Near San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Here's a shot of the current four-planet conjunction, taken the morning of May 7, 2011 from 23 south near San Pedro de Atacama and the ALMA telescope site in central Chile. This scene shows four planets partaking in a rare close mutual conjunction in the morning sky. From top to bottom they are: Venus (brightest) with Mercury just to the right of Venus (both inner worlds appear close together for the next week or so), then below that pair, Jupiter, then at the bottom and faintest, Mars. Notice how Venus, Jupiter and Mars are almost equally spaced, forming a straight line that defines the ecliptic path of the planets, here seen coming up vertically from the horizon. This is the view from 23 south latitude; from North America these planets would be arrayed more horizontally low across the eastern horizon. The conical peak at left is 5,900-metre-high Licancabur Volcano. The lights are taillights of pre-dawn traffic going over the high pass over the Andes into Bolivia.
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