Sunday, May 26, 2013

Not only for e-mini futures traders - a special celestial event

Not every e-mini futures day trader has a background in astronomy, but that does not mean that everyone, be it a day trader or not, cannot enjoy a good celestial show.

Today, Sunday, May 26th, we can witness such a show, put on by three bright planets that will appear close to each other over the western horizon shortly after the sunset.

Since these are bright planets, two of them among the brightest such objects, it will be easy to spot them provided the weather does not disappoint.

I am talking about Venus, and Jupiter, the two bright ones, and Mercury, not in the same brightness league but easy to spot too if close to brighter objects.

Today, Mercury will be in the top vertex of this triangle and over the few days it will be getting closer to Venus to pass by it as close as two full Moon faces.

This is a very rare event, in part because Mercury is rather hard to spot. I watched it only twice over the few last decades, the last time over a period of a few days when it was close to Venus, the other time when I was a teenager, but only one evening and it was all as the weather spoiled the show afterwards.

The brightest of the three is Venus, then Jupiter, and all three will shine like bright yellow stars, but they are not stars, really.

You will see that they don't flicker and that's how you really tell the difference between stars and planets at the very first sight without watching them over a few nights to notice that the latter move or wander as the ancient Greeks used to call it and hence the name "planet" which means a "wandering star."

For more about this event, check out the video below. And whether you are an e-mini futures trader or not, watching this event can be fun.

Update: I watched this celestial triangle in Los Angeles, where the weather tends to be great and so was the case this evening. I first spotted Venus, the brightest of them all, then Jupiter, and after a while, Mercury. I stood there, on the corner of Selma and Ivar in Hollywood (one block east off Vine and one block north off Sunset) for a while until I could see Mercury really well, then hit Trader Joe's on Vine. When I got there it was 8:30 P.M. I could barely see them on the way back home, they were already pretty low, especially Venus.