Tuesday, August 16, 2016

That's a lot of planets

It is not a coincidence that planets line up. That's because all of the planets orbit the Sun in (nearly) a single sheet called the plane of the ecliptic. When viewed from inside that plane -- as Earth dwellersare likely to do -- the planets all appear confined to a single band. It is a coincidence, though, when several of the brightest planets all appear in nearly the same direction. Such a coincidence was captured just last week. Featured above, six planets and Earth's Moon were all imaged together last week, just before sunset, from Mornington Peninsula in VictoriaAustralia. A second band is visible across the top of this tall image -- the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy.