Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Conjunctions feed
Venus and Mercury will share the same right ascension, with Venus passing 1°24' to the south of Mercury.
From Ashburn (click to change), the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 8° above the horizon. They will become visible at around 18:21 (EDT) as the dusk sky fades, 8° above your western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 1 hour and 4 minutes after the Sun at 19:08.
Venus will be at mag -3.9, and Mercury at mag -1.1, both in the constellation Pisces.
The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.
A graph of the angular separation between Venus and Mercury around the time of closest approach is available here.
The positions of the two objects at the moment of conjunction will be as follows:
|Object||Right Ascension||Declination||Constellation||Magnitude||Angular Size|
The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 13° from the Sun, which is in Aquarius at this time of year.
|The sky on 05 March 2018|
18 days old
All times shown in EST.
Never attempt to point a pair of binoculars or a telescope at an object close to the Sun. Doing so may result in immediate and permanent blindness.
The circumstances of this event were computed using the DE405 planetary ephemeris published by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
This event was automatically generated by searching the ephemeris for planetary alignments which are of interest to amateur astronomers, and the text above was generated based on an estimate of your location.
|03 Jun 2017, 01:58 EDT||– Venus at greatest elongation west|
|17 Aug 2018, 03:58 EDT||– Venus at greatest elongation east|
|06 Jan 2019, 01:02 EST||– Venus at greatest elongation west|
|24 Mar 2020, 03:31 EDT||– Venus at greatest elongation east|
The Moon in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter, with the Very Large Telescope in the foreground. Image © Y. Beletsky, ESO, 2009.