An unusual alignment of the five planets of 2022 is still evident this first summer weekend. To get a better look, you have to get up early. But if so, you will be rewarded with what may be the most spectacular celestial encounter between the two brightest stars in the night sky: Venus and the moon.
Considering that the Sun rises early this time in the Northern Hemisphere, it is tricky to get up and watch a celestial event before sunrise. On Saturday morning (June 25), the moon will rise above and to the right of the glittering Venus.
However, if the sky is clear on Sunday morning (June 26), it will be your turn to set your alarm clock 60 to 90 minutes before sunrise to see the celestial dance of these two bright objects.
Look at the northeast atmosphere to see the smallest moon (7% illuminated) less than three days before the new phase. And it is set at about 2.5 degrees below, and Venus will be to the right of this lunar eclipse.
Although the two will appear close, they are far apart: Venus is currently 128.8 million miles (207.3 million km) from Earth, while the moon is 515 times closer, 249,900 km (402,000 km).
Suppose you have good telescopes and look long enough, while the sky is still dark, scan 6.7 degrees above Venus to see the famous Pleiades star cluster, which is just beginning to reappear after being hidden from the light. of the Sun last month. (As a reference point, the arm’s length measured 2 degrees across, while your folded fist measured 10 degrees.)
Venus currently rises about 12 minutes after the first light of dawn. Interestingly, however, as Venus follows the Sun in the northernmost ecliptic and crosses the Taurus and Gemini constellations in the coming weeks, the planet will appear to emerge within just one or two minutes after dawn. This will be the case during the last ten days of July. By the last week of August, however, Venus will only rise about 90 minutes before sunset and will soon sink into a bright morning light every morning. And by the end of September, Venus will be gone from the morning sky.
So, despite the hour of ungodliness, get up early Sunday to catch Venus while it is still easily visible. This reunion with our closest neighbor in space will make for a lovely blue table greeting on a summer morning.