Catch Venus, Mars and the Moon close together in the night sky – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana weather
(CNN) – The Skywatchers are going to have (inter) stellar feast this week.
Look up and you will be able to contemplate a dazzling sight of Venus, Mars and the moon on Monday and Tuesday evenings, according to Earth sky.
Venus and Mars moved closer to each other all weekend, culminating in their closest encounter in the early hours of Tuesday, July 13, around 3 a.m. ET. Seen from Earth, the planets will only appear half a degree – or only a finger’s width – from each other, according to NASA. This meeting of the planets in the sky is called a planetary conjunction.
This is only an illusion, of course, as the two planets are extremely far from each other in reality.
“Even during this conjunction, they will still be several million kilometers apart,” said Giada Arney in a video on the NASA website. “But from our perspective here on Earth, they will appear to be close to each other.” Arney is a space scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and deputy principal investigator of the upcoming DAVINCI + mission to Venus. DAVINCI + stands for Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gas, Chemistry, and Imaging Plus.
Since this moment coincides with the return of the young moon to the night sky, the conjunction of Venus and Mars will appear alongside a thin crescent moon that is only 10% illuminated.
Most observers will be able to see the three celestial bodies on Monday and Tuesday evenings, according to NASA. Viewers can look west about 45 minutes after sunset to spot the event on these nights, but it can be seen until July 14 if there is clear skies.
Venus, the closest to Earth and the brightest planet in the night sky, will appear very slightly above the Red Planet. Mars, planet of war, mythologically speaking, will be much smaller and darker compared to the glowing Venus, planet of love. Look for sparkling Venus first, then move your eyes slightly below for the smallest point that is Mars.
Venus and Mars are both in the night sky throughout July, slowly approaching and eventually crossing each other. Venus started the month under Mars and moves away from the setting sun as the red planet descends and approaches the setting sun.
The red planet is most visible in early July and becomes harder to spot as the month progresses, according to EarthSky. You probably won’t see it at all in August. Venus, however, will remain in the evening sky for the rest of the year, reaching its brightest on December 4 with the new moon.
The conjunction is just one of the spectacular events you can observe in the night sky this year. Here’s what else you can expect in 2021.
Typical of a normal year, 2021 has 12 full moons. (There were 13 full moons last year, including two in October.)
Here are all the full moons remaining this year and their names, according to The old farmer’s almanac:
July 23 – buck moon
August 22 – sturgeon moon
September 20 – harvest moon
October 20 – hunter’s moon
November 19 – beaver moon
December 18 – cold moon
Be sure to check other names of these moons too, attributed to their respective Native American tribes.
The Delta Aquariids meteor shower is best seen from the southern tropics and will peak between July 28-29, when the moon is 74% full.
Interestingly, another meteor shower peaks on the same night – the Alpha Capricornids. Although this is a much weaker shower, it is known to produce brilliant fireballs during its prime. It will be visible to everyone, regardless of which side of the equator you are on.
The Perseid meteor shower, the most popular of the year, will peak between August 11 and 12 in the northern hemisphere, when the moon is only 13% full.
Here is the meteor shower schedule for the rest of the year, according to EarthSky Meteor Shower Outlook.
• October 8: Draconids
• October 21: Orionides
• November 4 to 5: Taurides du Sud
• November 11 to 12: Taurides du Nord
• November 17: Leonids
• December 13 to 14: Geminids
• December 22: Ursides
Solar and lunar eclipses
This year there will be another solar eclipse and another moon eclipse, according to The old farmer’s almanac.
November 19 will see a partial lunar eclipse, and sky watchers in North America and Hawaii will be able to see it between 1 a.m.ET and 7:06 a.m.ET.
And the year will end with a total solar eclipse on December 4th. It won’t be visible in North America, but those in the Falkland Islands, the southern tip of Africa, Antarctica and southeast Australia will be able to spot it.
Sky watchers will have multiple opportunities to spot the planets in our skies on certain mornings and evenings throughout 2021, according to the Planetary Guide to the Farmer’s Almanac.
Most of them can be seen with the naked eye, with the exception of distant Neptune, but binoculars or a telescope will provide the best view.
Mercury will look like a bright star in the morning sky from June 27 to July 16 and from October 18 to November 1. It will shine in the night sky from August 31 to September 21 and from November 29 to December 31.
Venus, our closest neighbor in the solar system, will appear in the western sky at dusk in the evening until December 31. It is the second brightest object in our sky, after the moon.
Mars makes its reddish appearance in the morning sky between November 24 and December 31 and will be visible in the evening sky until August 22.
Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, is the third brightest object in our sky. It will be on display in the morning sky until August 19. Look for it on the evening of August 20 to December 31, but it will be at its peak from August 8 to September 2.
Saturn’s rings are only visible through a telescope, but the planet itself can still be seen with the naked eye in the morning until August 1 and in the evening from August 2 to December 31. It will be at its peak during the first four days of August.
Binoculars or a telescope will help you spot Uranus’ greenish glow in the morning through November 3 and in the evening from November 4 through December 31. It will be at its peak between August 28 and December 31.
And our furthest neighbor in the solar system, Neptune, will be visible through a telescope in the morning through September 13 and in the evening from September 14 through December 31. It will be at its maximum between July 19 and November 8.
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.