Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn will be spectacularly joined by a sharp waning crescent Moon in the southeastern sky in the early morning hours of March 18. In one of the many coincidental alignments driven by orbital mechanics, the foursome will be grouped nicely in Sagittarius. Pluto won’t be joining the party … to the naked eye, anyway.
The dwarf planet will only be visible in the center of the group with a powerful telescope. Despite the objects’ proximity in the sky, they are actually separated by vast distances — from less than 0.3 percent to over 34 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun.
Each month, Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory astronomer Eric McLaughlin spotlights a notable celestial event. For information about the observatory, visit ranchomiragelibrary.org.
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