Stargazers who looked up Friday morning just before sunrise may have noticed the unusual sight of an oblique triangle made up of the moon and two other bright spots in the night sky.
Diana Hannikainen, the observing editor of Harvard College Observatory’s Sky & Telescope magazine, said in an e-mail that the alignment was formed by the moon, Jupiter, and Mars.
“About half a fist’s length to the lower right of the Moon would have been Mars, probably looking a bit orange-ish,” Hannikainen said. “From Mars, slightly less than two fist-lengths over would have been Jupiter shining quite brightly. The three objects formed an oblique triangle, with the moon and Mars forming a narrow base and Jupiter the pointy end on the right.”
Hannikainen said alignments in the sky like this happen often, though they can involve different planets and positions.
“At times, there might be more planets involved,” Hannikainen said. “It all depends on where the planets are in their respective orbits around the sun.”
If you didn’t catch the alignment, don’t fret. Hannikainen said gazers can spot the moon, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter lined up in a nearly straight row along the horizon Saturday morning. To catch a glimpse, look toward the southern horizon about an hour before sunlight, away from city lights if possible.Laney Ruckstuhl can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @laneyruckstuhl.