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A planetary show for the ages coming up this weekend

A planetary show for the ages coming up this weekend
Photo of the moon, Jupiter and Venus courtesy of Mike Hovis of Sequim, taken Feb. 25, 2012.

I know it's chilly in the evenings this time of year, but if you've got a heavy coat and perhaps a mug of coffee handy this weekend, it's a fine time to venture out just after sunset to catch a glimpse of a rare celestial show.

Both Saturday night and Sunday night will feature a treat of Jupiter, Venus and the crescent moon -- each bunched up right next to each other. All you have to do head outside around 7-9 p.m. or so (really good viewing from about 7:30-8:30) and look toward the western horizon.

Venus and Jupiter have been lining up for a while, getting ready for their big tango toward the middle of March. Right now, the two planets are 20 degrees apart from a viewing perspective. The gap narrows to 10 degrees by month's end.

But this weekend, a crescent moon joins the show this weekend for a triple combination.

The celestial encounter will be visible from around the world at twilight. The moon will appear closer to Venus on Saturday and closer to Jupiter on Sunday.

The skies around Seattle and Western Washington this weekend are iffy for Saturday night, but Sunday night looks promising.

The moon then retreats from view, but Venus and Jupiter keep drawing closer. The two planets will be just 3 degrees apart by mid-March.

If you get any photos, I'd love to see them and do a gallery. You can submit them to our You News account or email them to us at

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The Associated Press contributed to this report