An Italian astronomer has caught the rare sight of Venusand Mercury together in the night sky in a snapshot of both planets shiningdown on Rome.
Astronomer Giancula Masi snapped the stunning photo ofVenus and Mercury on Wednesday night while looking west after sunset in Rome,Italy. The result: a serene scene of planets and architecture.
?You can enjoy both the planets and the skyline, with themagnificent St. Peter?s [Basilica] dome on the right,? Masi told SPACE.com ofthe skywatching trip to Campidoglio (?capitol?) in the heart of Rome. [Mysteries of Mercury.]
Venusand Mercury are locked in a celestial dance of sorts over the next fewweeks, treating skywatchers to a chance to spot the usually tricky planetarytarget Mercury by using bright Venus as a guide. This viewing map shows where to look tosee the two planets.
Between March 28 and April 12, Mercury willbe within 5 degrees of Venus (the length of your clenched fist held at arm'slength is about 10 degrees).
So Venus is a convenient guidepost to locate thenormally hard-to-find planet [moreVenus photos].
SPACE.com skywatching columnist Joe Rao hasthis advice for avid hunters of Venus and Mercury:
?Around 30 to 45 minutes after sunrise looklow toward the west-northwest horizon,? he wrote last week. ?You willimmediately spot brilliant Venus. Hovering below and to its right you will seea bright yellowish ?star.? You?re looking at our solar system?s so-called ?elusive?planet.? Read more about Mercury.
Masi used a digital reflex camera and a wide-field lensto catch the planetary dance of Venus and Mercury.
?It was a memorable experience for me to go close to ?Campidoglio?and looking up for those cosmic jewels, finding them above that stunning panorama!?Masi said.
- Images- Venus Seen From Around the World
- Top10 Mysteries of Mercury
- Online Sky Maps and More
- SeeVenus and Mercury Shine in Celestial Dance