PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Attention stargazers and night watchers: with clear skies forecast in Portland Saturday night, be sure to look out for these three planets.
Mercury, Venus and Mars, along with the crescent moon, will be visible after sunset, according to Jim Todd, director of space science education at OMSI.
“The waxing crescent moon will to the lower right of Mars. Mercury will be in the middle of Mars and Venus. Venus will outshine Mercury by 280 times, so seeing Mercury will be difficult,” Todd said.
Be sure to not wait too long after sunset to check out these planets. Sunset for Saturday night is around 8:35 p.m., Venus sets around 9:45 p.m. and Mercury sets around 10:30 p.m. Mars will set soon after midnight.
On Sunday, Mercury will reach “greatest eastern elongation” and peak visibility, Todd added.
“After that, the planet will swing sunward each evening, eventually becoming more difficult to see,” he said. “This is also the best time to see Mercury due to its proximity to the sun. Mercury fades from view again in early June.”
Venus will spend the rest of May low in the northwestern sky.
“It will gradually increase its angle east of the sun from 9 degrees to 18 degrees late May and June, but Venus’ brilliant -3.9 magnitude will allow to be seen easily within the evening twilight,” Todd said. “Mercury will pass only 0.4 degrees to the left of Venus on May 28, close enough to appear with Venus in a telescope eyepiece.”
There will be a full “super moon” on May 26, with a total lunar eclipse visible at 4:18 a.m., low above the western horizon.