Astronomy Minute

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Planet Viewing – Both Mercury and Venus have swung behind the sun and are entering our evening sky. I think of these inferior (orbits closer to the sun) planets as the yo-yo planets due to the paths they take in the sky. Of course, Venus is the most spectacular. It will continue to rise higher in the sky and reach its greatest elongation (apparent distance from sun) in the August-September timeframe. It will then slide back down towards the sun and pass in front of it at the end of the year. I look forward to seeing the “evening star” again. We also have a chance to see Mercury at its greatest elongation on May 16. Let’s hope for clear skies!

By Russ Hanson