Dance of the Music of the Spheres (September 23, 2004)
Hi-res TIF image (4.0M)
Hi-res TIF image (2.5M)
This week begins a new dance of the planets as seen by SOHO. Since August 23, Mars has moved rather slowly from left to right in our LASCO C3 field of view. However, it is passing behind the Sun right now and is not visible. Since September 12 SOHO has seen Jupiter, the bright object in the upper left corner of the LASCO C2 instrument as it crosses also from left to right and begins to overtake Mars. Interesting, but this is merely the prelude: on September 26th, Mercury will appear as well in the broader field of view provided by the C3 instrument, crossing the other way, from right to left. It will be seen as an object that is somewhat similar in brightness to the others. Most notably of all, their paths will bring them visually very close to each other (within one degree) on September 29th. Although these planets are just moving through their orbits around the Sun per usual, such a convergence is fairly rare and is unique to SOHO as the only observer of the sky able to observe this phenomenon so close to the Sun..
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