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Venus, Jupiter and Moon Shine Bright in Cosmic Dance

The splendid planets Venus and Jupiter will perform one final sky uncover with the crescent moon tonight (March 26) to hang adult a two-day astronomical meet-up.

At sunset, Venus, Jupiter and a moon will seem together in a western sky in what astronomers call a conjunction. For observers with transparent skies, a crescent moon will seem during a tip of a contingent like a hulk grin in space, with Venus resplendent splendid to a reduce right and Jupiter perched below.

“This will be a best Venus-Jupiter and for years to come,” NASA officials wrote in a skywatching alert. “While splendid to a unaided eye, they’re even improved when seen by a telescope – and we can share NASA’s view.”

On Sunday night (March 25), that noted a initial night of a conjunction, NASA hosted a webchat and live telescope views of Venus, Jupiter and a moon. The space group has archived a video around a Marshall Space Flight Center’s Ustream comment so latecomers can relive a experience.

“What an extraordinary uncover a star give us!!!” skywatcher Sandy Caldarazzo of Dundalk, Md., told SPACE.com in an email. “I have been examination these dual planets unresolved out all month.” 

The sky map of Venus, Jupiter and a moon compared with this beam shows where to demeanour tonight in a western sky to see a astronomical steer during sunset.

While a moon, Venus and Jupiter seem tighten to any other in a night sky, they are indeed intensely apart apart.

For example, a moon is about 238,000 miles (382,900 kilometers) from Earth and appears to pierce fast opposite a night sky. Venus and Jupiter, however, are some-more apart and seem to pierce some-more solemnly over time. [Amazing Photos: Venus and Jupiter in March]

Currently, Venus is about 67 million miles (108 million km) from Earth while Jupiter is about 535 million miles (861 million km) away. Jupiter, in particular, has had a months-long run as a illusory skywatching target, though that will shortly change.

Over a subsequent few weeks, Jupiter’s coming will solemnly be mislaid in a glisten of a environment sun.

By mid-April, a gas hulk will be environment during a finish of dusk twilight (about 1.5 hours after sunset), afterwards apropos harder to see as it sinks reduce into a sunset. After Apr 24, Jupiter will disappear from a night sky until late June, when it will lapse in a emergence sky.

The world Venus, meanwhile, will continue to grow brighter in a weeks ahead.

Currently, Venus is resplendent during a top indicate above a setting for 2012. It is manifest prolonged into a night and sets about 4 hours after sunset. On Tuesday (March 27), Venus will strech a easternmost indicate in a sky (relative to a sun) and will start to drop behind down toward a horizon.

If we have a telescope, Venus takes on a some-more startling look: It appears as a splendid silver-white “half moon” now and will solemnly renovate into a thick crescent as a circuit brings it closer to Earth. This is since Venus, like a moon, has phases as it orbits a sun.

Venus and Jupiter are not a usually planets charity gorgeous views this week. The world Mars is also manifest in a eastern sky as a splendid reddish-orange universe in a dusk sky.

If we snap an extraordinary print of Venus and Jupiter, or any other skywatching target, and would like to share it for a probable story or picture gallery, greatfully hit SPACE.com handling editor Tariq Malik during tmalik@space.com.

You can follow SPACE.com Managing Editor Tariq Malik on Twitter @tariqjmalikFollow SPACE.com for a latest in space scholarship and scrutiny news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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