The December 3, 2012 line-up of planets in the east before dawn has come and gone for most of us, but never fear … if you look on December 4, the view will be nearly as good. This wonderful coming together of Mercury, Venus and Saturn happens every few years. This year, a beautiful – but photoshopped – image of these three planets above three Egyptian pyramids caused a huge stir in cyberspace. Could you see these above the Great Pyramid of Giza and two other pyramids? Sure! And, in fact, you could also see them above any other landmark you chose this morning, anywhere in the world, including your favorite tree or fence or mountain in your own backyard. The planets were beautiful today. They are always beautiful! And these three worlds, in particular, will be visible in the predawn sky, near each other, throughout most of December. There are some particularly scenic views of the planets coming up on December 10 and December 11, when the waning crescent moon sweeps past. The photos below – all from December 3 – are from our talented friends on Facebook. To see many more photos of these three planets before dawn, go to Recent Posts by Others at EarthSky Facebook.
Bottom line: Thank you to all our friends on Facebook who sent in wonderful photos of this morning’s view of Venus, Mercury and Saturn before dawn. We’re still waiting for that pyramid photo if anyone has one! Awesome view of these planets, and by the way if you missed them today, try again on December 4! These worlds will be visible together before dawn throughout December 2012.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.