Venus and Mars, February 23, 2015

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Brilliant Venus and Mars shine from the western sky this evening as seen from the Chicago area.  Venus is now past Mars and the pair is separated by less than 1 degree.

More posts about the planets:

Mars and Venus, February 2015

Venus as an Evening Star

 

earth_venInterestingly, if we were on Mars, we’d see Earth and Venus together in the sky.  The diagram above, from the computer simulation software Starry Night, shows the view from Mars with Venus 1 degree to the upper right of our world in the east-southeastern sky just before sunrise.  From Mars, Venus appears about the same brightness as it does in our sky this evening. In this simulated view, Earth is about half as bright as Venus, yet Earth from Mars is about 30 times brighter than Mars appears from Earth.  The result is two brilliant planets shining in the sky from Mars.

Venus and Mars Tonight, February 19, 2015

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Brilliant Venus and Mars appear close together this evening as seen from the Chicago area.  This evening the planets are 1 degree apart.  Tomorrow the moon joins the view.

More posts about the planets:

Mars and Venus, February 2015

Venus as an Evening Star

Venus and Mars, February 18, 2015

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Brilliant Venus and Mars shine in the western sky this evening as seen from the Chicago area as a bitterly cold, but clear night, sets in.  The pair passes each other this  weekend.  Tonight they are 1.5 degrees apart.

More posts about the planets:

Mars and Venus, February 2015

Venus as an Evening Star

Venus, Mars & Jupiter, February 17, 2015

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Brilliant Venus and Mars shine from the western sky this evening.  Venus is moving higher in the sky, as Mars is slowly moving toward the sun’s brilliance.  They are closest this weekend.  Tonight they are less than 2 degrees apart.

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Meanwhile, bright Jupiter shines from the eastern sky at the same time as the planetary pair move together in the west.  It is 14 degrees above the star Regulus.  Just past opposition, Jupiter is in the sky throughout the night, in the east during early the early evening, south around midnight, and west in the predawn hours.

More posts about the planets:

Mars and Venus, February 2015

Venus as an Evening Star

Jupiter at opposition

Venus and Mars, February 14, 2015

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On a clear,but bitterly cold evening, brilliant Venus and Mars shine from the western sky at 6:15 p.m. CST as seen from the Chicago area. Tonight Venus and Mars are about 3.5 degrees apart. They will appear closest next weekend with a crescent moon in the view.

Other Posts:

Mars and Venus, February 2015

Venus as an Evening Star

Venus and Mars, February 2015

As Jupiter gleams in the eastern evening sky as it has just passed opposition, brilliant Venus and Mars pass in the western evening sky during late February. The Venus-Mars pair is closest on February 21.

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During the next few evenings, as the sky darkens, look westward.  Venus is the brilliant “star” in the western sky.  It outshines all planets and stars in the sky.  Its intensity can be easily mistaken for distant airplane lights.  Dimmer Mars is to the upper left of Venus.  On the chart above on February 15, the pair is separated by about 3 degrees, that’s about 6 full moon diameters.

In astronomy we describe the separate between celestial object in the angular measurement of degrees, like those on a protractor.  The diameter of the full moon is nearly 0.5 degree.  Hold up your hand and extend your arm.  At arm’s length the finger nail on your pinky finger covers about the area of the full moon.

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A few nights later (February 18), Venus appears higher in the sky and closer to Venus.  On this evening, the pair is separated by about 1.5 degrees (3 full moon diameters).

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On February 20, a thin crescent moon joins the pair making a spectacular celestial sight.  In this evening, Mars is about 0.75 degrees above Venus with the Moon 1.5 degrees to the right of Venus.  (The moon is exaggerated in size in these images.)

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On the next evening, the pair is separated by less than one full moon diameter with the moon 13 degrees to the upper left of the planetary pair.  The two planets look near each other from the view of our home planet. although they are about 75 million miles apart, over 300 times the earth-moon distance.

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A few nights later (February 25), Venus is nearly 2 degrees to the upper left of Mars.

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By month’s end, Venus continues to climb higher in the sky, about 3 degrees to the upper left of Mars on February 28.  Mars slowly disappears into the sun’s glare as it heads toward conjunction with the sun in mid-June.  Venus continues to climb higher into the sky during the spring.  Later in the summer, Venus leaves the evening sky and reappears in the eastern morning sky.  The pair appears each other in early September, although they are separated by about 9 degrees.

Jupiter at Opposition , 2015

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Jupiter reaches opposition on February 8, 2015.  This occurs when our faster moving planet Earth moves between Jupiter and the sun, making the sun and Jupiter appear on opposite sides of the sky.  At this year’s opposition, Jupiter is 400 million miles from the us.  While it is much larger than Venus, Jupiter’s greater distance makes it dimmer than Venus, currently shining in the southwest during early evening twilight hours.  Venus appears nearly 3.5 times brighter than Jupiter, and outshining all other starlike objects. The chart above shows Earth between Jupiter and the sun.

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Early in the evening look for Jupiter in the eastern sky.  The dimmer stars to the left of the planet make the constellation Leo.  The “Sickle of Leo,” a nickname for some of the stars in the constellation, resemble a farmer’s tool.

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By midnight, Jupiter and the accompanying stars appear high in the southern sky.  Bluish Regulus is part of the view.

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By early morning, Jupiter and its stellar entourage appear in the western sky.  As the sky brightens with the sun rising in the east, Jupiter sets in the west — opposition.

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