Celestial PhotoOp: The Moon slides in between Jupiter and Venus

Celestial PhotoOp: The Moon slides in between Jupiter and Venus

Celestial PhotoOp: The Moon slides in between Jupiter and Venus

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
March 24 2012 4:10 PM

Celestial PhotoOp: The Moon slides in between Jupiter and Venus

Over the next couple of nights, especially Sunday and Monday (March 25 and 26), a very thin crescent Moon will move in between the incredibly bright beacons of Venus and Jupiter in the west right after sunset.

Here's a map of what it'll look like on March 25 around 9:00 p.m. local time:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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The green line along the bottom is the horizon. Jupiter will be about 15° above the horizon at that time (though the exact orientation will depend on your latitude), and Venus about 10° above it -- that's about the apparent size of your fist held at arm's length. The Moon's position will change hour by hour, so where it is depends on when you look! So these three will make an amazing, shifting trio over the course of a couple of days. And all you have to do is face west after sunset and take a look! Here's more information with details about the triple-conjunction.

This makes for a fantastic photo opportunity, of course. It also presents a great opportunity to see both Venus and Jupiter in broad daylight. Both can be hard to spot on their own, but the crescent Moon is far easier. Be mindful not to look at the Sun! But if you can spot the Moon in the daylit sky Sunday and Monday, you might be able to see the tiny specks of the two planets nearby. You can read about how to do this here.


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