On Thursday, the Moon and Venus will be so perfectly aligned in the night sky that it will appear as though the two are sharing a celestial embrace.
If you love star gazing and often enjoy peering into the depths of the visible sky, you'll love what the twilight sky has to offer this Thursday. On the 27th of February, the Moon and Venus will seem so close to each other, it'll appear as though the two are sharing a celestial embrace. So, if the weather is clean and the skies are clear, be sure to look to the southwest side of the sky an hour after sunset to witness a beautiful sight—a crescent moon and very bright venus—literally sharing space right next to each other and shining brighter than ever.
Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty, has been one of the most frequently visible planets to the human eye due to its propensity to outshine its siblings and also some of the biggest stars from our solar system. As some of us may already know, Venus is known to shine bright at certain times of the year earning itself the name "Evening Star". Currently, the planet is going through one such phase called the 'apparition' wherein it moves further and further away from the sun and in doing so shine brighter before reaching peak brightness in June 2020.
Great sunset in New Zealand. Awesome view of the moon and venus. pic.twitter.com/mt08mDXqzT— AuroraGeospatialSolutions (@AuroraGeoSol) February 26, 2020
Here's what astronomy journalist Dr. Stuart Clark had to say in an article for The Guardian: "Venus is now approaching its highest visible altitude in the evening sky for this apparition. It will remain there until the beginning of April. After that it will nose-dive towards the horizon, and by the end of May, it will have disappeared into the glare. On 3 June, unseen from Earth, it will pass between our planet and the sun. It will then reappear low in the morning sky by the end of the month."
The moon - Mars - Venus conjunction as the moon and planets set over Mt Whitney, February 2015. https://t.co/7SNsPWdXRd#astronomy #astrophotography #timelapse #video #EasternSierra #California #InyoCounty pic.twitter.com/RlKaks4pb1— Jeff Sullivan Photo (@JeffSullPhoto) February 14, 2020
The moon, while not entirely visible in its full avatar, has been brighter this week owing to the 'new' moon phenomenon. On Sunday the 23rd of February, the moon was roughly between Earth and the Sun, meaning it wasn't completely visible. However, as it goes on its journey around the Earth, we begin to see the side of it as it creates a crescent moon. This should be visible in the south-western sky for several days after its ‘new’ stage. Now, the two are close because they largely follow the same elliptical orbit like all the other planets in our solar system. As they move around in their orbit, we see them line up along a similar angle, making it look like they're next to each other. In real terms, however, Venus will actually be 84 million miles away from our planet, while the moon is 249,892 miles away.
Crescent moon and Venus, 8.33 pm— Brian Brannigan (@BrianBrannigan5) February 26, 2020
(Raumati Beach, north of Wellington) pic.twitter.com/C4Q6RFS0Hy
The latest celestial dance is neither the first or the last time that the phenomenon will occur. So, if you miss it or are worried about missing it, you can catch a similar event where Venus will yet again creep up on the Moon on March 28. Provided you have a powerful binocular or a telescope, you can also watch Venus get close to the ninth planet on our solar system, Uranus on March 9, 2020.