Venus and Jupiter conjunction: How to see it

(CNN) Jupiter and Venus will appear very close together in the night sky on Wednesday, with the two planets to pass each other in what is known as a conjunction.

Jupiter will appear to shift westward, while a bright Venus appears to be moving slowly in the other direction, NASA said.

Conjunctions between planets often occur because the celestial bodies orbit the Sun in roughly the same plane as each other and trace similar paths across our sky.

NASA said the two planets would appear in the western sky above the horizon around 6:58 p.m. ET, when evening twilight ends on the East Coast of the United States.

At their closest, they are expected to be just half a degree apart – about the diameter of a full moon, said Robert Massey, deputy chief executive of Britain’s Royal Astronomical Society.

The best time to see the Jupiter-Venus conjunction in the US will be in the early evening on Wednesday, but the two planets will continue to appear close together in the night sky on Thursday, he added. The conjunction will be visible to the naked eye.

Conjunctions have no particular astronomical significance, but they are a striking sight to behold.

After the Moon, Jupiter and Venus are currently the brightest objects in the sky, according to Gianluca Masi, an astronomer at the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy and head of the Virtual Telescope Project. He has organized a live feed to watch “the kiss between Venus and Jupiter”.

Here are the rest of 2023’s best sky events, so you can have your binoculars and telescope ready.

Full moons

The next full moon will occur on Tuesday, March 7, and that evening Venus, Jupiter and Mars will also be visible in the night sky, NASA said. It is sometimes known as crow, crust, sap, sugar or worm moon.

Here are the other remaining full moons for 2023, according to the Farmer’s Almanac:

April 6: Pink Moon

May 5: Flower Moon

June 3: Strawberry Moon

July 3: Capricorn moon

August 1: Sturgeon Moon

August 30: Blue Moon

September 29: Autumn Moon

October 28: Hunter’s Moon

November 27: Beaver Moon

December 26: Cold Moon

While these are the popularized names associated with the monthly full moon, each has its own meaning across Native American tribes (with many also referred to by different names).

There will be two solar eclipses and two lunar eclipses in 2023

There will be two solar eclipses and two lunar eclipses in 2023.

A total solar eclipse will occur on April 20, visible to those in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Antarctica. This type of event occurs when the Moon moves between the Sun and the Earth and blocks the Sun.

And for some sky watchers in Indonesia, parts of Australia and Papua New Guinea, it will actually be a hybrid solar eclipse. The curvature of Earth’s surface can cause some eclipses to shift between total and annular as the moon’s shadow moves across the globe, according to NASA.

Like a total solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and Earth during an annular eclipse — but it occurs when the moon is at or near its furthest point from Earth, according to NASA. This causes the moon to appear smaller than the sun, so it doesn’t completely block our star and create a glowing ring around the moon.

An annular solar eclipse sweeping the Western Hemisphere will occur on October 14 and be visible across the Americas.

Be sure to wear proper eclipse glasses to safely view solar eclipses, as the sun’s light can be harmful to the eye.

A penumbral lunar eclipse will occur on May 5 for those in Africa, Asia and Australia. This less dramatic version of a lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves through the penumbra, or the dim, outer part of Earth’s shadow.

A partial lunar eclipse of the Hunter’s Moon on October 28 will be visible to those in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, parts of North America and much of South America. A partial eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon are not perfectly aligned, so only part of the Moon goes into shadow.

Meteor showers

Mark your calendar with the top meteor shower dates you can see in 2023:

Lyrids: 22.-23. April

Eta Aquariids: 5.-6. May

Southern delta Aquariids: 30-31. July

Alpha Capricorn: 30-31. July

Perseids: 12.-13. August

Orionids: 20.-21. October

Southern Taurids: 4.-5. November

Northern Taurids: 11.-12. November

Leonidas: 17.-18. November

Geminids: 13.-14. December

Clock pages: 21.-22. December

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