Moon and Venus conjunction dazzles stargazers with the pre-dawn spectacle of a crescent moon alongside the twinkling planet in the night sky
- Individual orbits of the moon and Venus see them cross each other in the night sky this week
- They were visible alongside each other this morning in the pre-dawn sky under the Leo constellation
- Stargazers will get another chance to view both the celestial bodies in close proximity tomorrow morning
Venus and the moon last night partnered up to dazzle stargazers around the world.
In a quirk of their individual orbits, the planet and our natural satellite sit alongside each other in the night sky and are both bright and clearly visible.
People up before dawn this morning in areas without cloud cover caught a glimpse of the stunning event, and those who missed it will be able to see it again tomorrow.
After this, the orbit of the moon will take it past the position of Venus, ending the conjunction.
In a quirk of their individual orbits, Venus (right) and the moon (left) sit alongside each other in the night sky and are both bright and clearly visible
People up before dawn this morning in areas without cloud cover caught a glimpse of the stunning event, and those who missed it will be able to catch a glimpse of it again tomorrow
For the US, due to its different location in the northern hemisphere, tomorrow morning will see the moon and Venus at their closest, according to EarthSky
From London, looking eastwards, the slim crescent moon sits above the horizon, just underneath the constellation of Leo.
Meanwhile, Mars also put on a lone display to rival that of Venus and the moon.
The red planet is currently at a point called ‘opposition’, where it is at the exact other side of its orbit to the sun, allowing it to shine ultra-bright. This occurs just one ever 26 months.
While Venus and the moon may look within touching distance, they are actually separated by around 67 million miles.
The moon is currently close to its average distance away from Earth (238,855 miles or 384,400 km) whereas Venus is almost three quarters of the way to the Sun.
Venus, the hottest planet in the Solar System and the second closest to our star, is around 280 times further away than the moon.
For UK-based viewers, this morning was the best time to see the event as the two bodies were closest together.
However tomorrow morning will see them within touching distance once again, but with the moon further west.
Venus will rise at around 03:49am, and the moon will be up from around 5am.
However, the Sun will come above the horizon at 7:25am, making the sweet spot for viewing the celestial marvel a two and a half hour slot before dawn.
In the US, due to its different location in the northern hemisphere, tomorrow morning will see the moon and Venus at their closest, according to EarthSky.
While Venus and the Moon may look within touching distance, they are actually separated by around 67 million miles. Pictured, the event this morning from Turkmenistan
Pictured, the moon and Venus alongside each other as seen in the pre-dawn sky above Bazhou, China
The crescent moon and Mars is seen in the sky above Dunsden, Oxfordshire this morning. It will also be visible again tomorrow, weather permitting
Mars shine big and bright in the sky
Mars currently appears like a bright reddish-star in the night sky as the Red Planet reaches its point of opposition with the Earth between it and the Sun.
It is visible with the naked eye and appear slightly reddish in colour – looking through a telescope should allow you to spot surface features and polar ice caps.
Mars won’t appear this bright again until 2035 when the two planets are next in close alignment with one another – but should be bright until the end of October.
It was be at its best around 1am on Wednesday, according to the Royal Observatory Greenwich, but will be spectacular for several days.
‘It’s a really good chance to view it – the last time this happened was 2018 but it was quite difficult for a lot of people to see because it was quite down in the horizon,’ explained Royal Observatory astronomer Hannah Banyard.
From the UK Mars will rise above the horizon at about 19:20 BST but will be best viewed after midnight – to see it look eastwards towards the constellation Pisces.