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Venus and the moon dancing

Wednesday Evening’s sky shows Venus and the moon dancing!

Venus and the moon are two of the brightest objects visible in the night sky, with the moon being the brightest and Venus coming in a distant second. There will be a close encounter between the two on Wednesday (Feb. 22).

Technically known as an appulse, this approach can be seen from New York City on February 23 between 7:52 a.m. EST (1252 GMT) and 7:59 p.m. EST (0059 GMT). Seeing as how most of that time is during the day, it will be challenging to observe the appulse. New York City’s sunset is at 5:38 p.m. EST (22:38 GMT), so you still have a few hours of nighttime viewing time.

Venus and the moon will both be in convergence at the same time as the appulse, which occurs when two or more celestial bodies have the same right ascension (the “east-west” location in the sky).

Despite being only two days old, the moon will appear at magnitude -9.7 and have the appearance of a very narrow crescent. Nonetheless, Venus will appear as a magnitude 4.0 object. The thick, cloudy atmosphere of Venus and the moon is responsible for much of the planet’s luminosity since it reflects the sunlight that reaches the planet. (Astronomers employ a magnitude scale where smaller numbers represent brighter things.)

On Wednesday, Jupiter will be the next brightest object in the night sky, with a magnitude of -2.12. At the same time, Jupiter will be close to Venus, and the moon will be located between the two planets. (The closest approach between the two planets will occur on March 1.)

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