All month long, "morning people" have been watching planets converge in the pre-dawn sky. Venus, Jupiter, and Mars are all visible in the east before sunrise. Pete Lawrence sends this picture from a beach in Selsey, West Sussex, UK
"This was the view at daybreak on Oct. 9th," says Lawrence. "Venus, Mars and Jupiter gathered together with the crescent Moon. What a great way to start the day!"
The view is about to get even better. For the rest of the month, the planets will draw closer and closer together until Oct. 24th - Oct. 29th when they fit within a circle only 5o wide (sky maps: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6). Typical binoculars can see a patch of sky about 6o or 7o degrees wide. So when the triangle of planets shrinks to 5o, they will all fit inside a binoculars field of view. Imagine looking through the eyepiece and seeing three planets--all at once.
By the time October comes to an end, the planetary triangle will start breaking apart. But there are still two dates of special interest: Nov. 6th and 7th (sky maps:#1, #2). On those increasingly wintry mornings, the crescent Moon will swoop in among the dispersing planets for a loose but beautiful conjunction.
Look east before sunrise. There's a lot to see."