As twilight beds-in this Wednesday, March 1, step exterior and look excessive to the southwestern sky. You could possibly see the beautiful sight of super-bright planet Venus. Earth’s hotter sister planet has been brightening because the daybreak of 2023, however take a better look and also you’ll see big planet Jupiter very near Venus.
Yearly there’s a conjunction of Venus and Jupiter, however not often do they seem this shut. The 2 planets will seem to cross simply half a level from one another—the width of an outstretched finger held as much as the sky—on Wednesday, and never a lot farther aside on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. That’s not going to occur once more for some years, which is sufficient to get it the title of “tremendous conjunction.”
Clear skies permitting, after all—and that’s the catch. For those who haven’t received clear skies on Wednesday for the principle occasion or Thursday for an almost-as-close obvious cross then there is just one assured solution to see 2023’s closest planetary conjunction.
Starting at 18:30 UTC this Wednesday and Thursday—which is 13:30 EST and 10:30 PST—the Digital Telescope Undertaking will share reside views via it huge telescopes. Hosted by Italian astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, the livestream on YouTube will present views of Venus and Jupiter via its 14-inch and 17-inch robotic telescopes based mostly in Ceccano, Italy.
It could be one of many stargazing highlights of the yr up to now, however the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter is an phantasm. The planets are solely aligned from our viewpoint, and in actuality are many tens of millions of miles from one another and from Earth. All that’s occurring is that Earth’s orbital path across the Solar places us able the place Venus and Jupiter seem like shut to one another.
There are three extra conjunctions to come back in 2023, although none as spectacular as this one:
- March 31: Venus and Uranus
- June 4: Mercury and Uranus
- July 26: Venus and Mercury
Wishing you clear skies and large eyes.
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