Heads Up! – The Moon Meets Mars & Venus
This Friday, February 20, look west to see one of the best planet conjunctions of 2015.
On the evening of February 20, the waxing crescent Moon joins Venus and Mars in the western sky to create a tight gathering of worlds in the twilight.
The trio of worlds will be just one degree apart, close enough to fit within the low-power field of a telescope.
However, the conjunction will be easy to sight with the unaided eye, with the possible exception of Mars itself. It is now dim enough, and so close to brilliant Venus and the Moon, that picking it out might be tough without optical aid.
But any binoculars will nicely show this wonderful trio, as here:
This closeup image shows the field through binoculars, which typically frame about six to seven degrees of sky. The Moon, Venus and Mars will be a mere one degree apart.
The next night, February 21, the crescent Moon will sit above the Venus-Mars pair. But the two planets will be even closer together, just 1/2 degree apart. They will be a little farther apart on February 22.
Venus and Mars pass in conjunction this weekend as Mars sinks lower into the sky, to disappear behind the Sun by spring, while Venus climbs higher, to dominate the spring sky this year.
This will be a photogenic conjunction, so get your camera out. Use a normal to moderate telephoto lens (50mm to 135mm) to frame the celestial gathering above a scenic horizon.
– Alan, February 16, 2015 / © 2015 Alan Dyer / www.amazingsky.com