Conjunctions between planets and Moon will occur in the next few days; check the schedules

The planets Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn have been in alignment since the 18th, but at the end of April we will be able to observe some incredible conjunctions. Just look at the sky towards the east over the next few dawns to find the stars gradually approaching, until the conjunctions happen.

To observe these events, you won’t need any instruments, although a pair of binoculars can make some of them more interesting. All will occur towards the East. But remember, it all depends on atmospheric conditions and how clear the horizon is at your viewing location.

With luck, you will still be able to see some meteor from the Lyrid and Eta Aquarid showers. None of them will peak on conjunction days, but some of their “shooting stars” may still appear during this time.

Check below the dates and times for the best planetary moments between April 25th and May 1st.

Conjunction between the Moon, Saturn and Mars

Moon, Saturn and Mars will form a triangle in the sky at the end of dawn on April 26 (Image: Reproduction/Stellarium)

On Tuesday (26), the Waning Moon will be relatively close to Mars and Saturn, forming a scalene triangle. The planets will be, respectively, 9 degrees and six degrees away from the Moon and a little more than 13 degrees from each other. With these distances, the ideal is to observe with the naked eye, as the binoculars will not have a sufficient field of view.

This time, the planets will not be hidden by the lunar disk, as was the case with Mars in 2020, for example. But still, it’s a special event. To observe it, it will be necessary to wait until Mars is 20° above the horizon, which will occur at 4:00 am.

If you keep watching for a while longer you can follow the rise of Venus, followed by Jupiter, just below Mars.

Approach between the Moon, Venus and Jupiter

Venus, Jupiter and the Moon conjunct at 5:00 a.m. on April 27 (Image: Reproduction/Stellarium)

At dawn on the 27th, it will be the turn of Venus and Jupiter to stay close to the Moon, forming an almost equilateral triangle. The distance between them will be much smaller than at the conjunction of the 25th, so it is possible that it will be quite interesting to observe with a pair of low magnification astronomy binoculars (7×50 or 10×50).

The ideal observation window will be short: between 5:00 am and 5:40 am. Before that, objects will be very close to the horizon, but you may still be able to find them, depending on where you look. After 5:40 am, the sun will begin to shine and end the night.

Conjunction between Jupiter and Venus

On the night of May 1st, Jupiter and Venus will be conjunct, at just 0°24′ (ie 24 arcminutes, where 1 degree of arc equals 60 minutes). To get an idea of ​​how close the planets will be, the Full Moon is 30 minutes of arc, less than the distance of this conjunction. The Moon will not appear on this occasion.

The distance between Venus and Jupiter will be less than the diameter of the Full Moon; with telescopes, the Galilean moons can also be observed (Image: Reproduction/Stellarium)

You will be able to appreciate this conjunction from April 30th, when the planets will be about 31 arcseconds apart. To observe them, however, you will need to be awake at dawn: Venus and Jupiter will be easier to observe after 5:00 am, when they are about 20° above the horizon.

Things don’t get any better in terms of timing on May 1st, but you can also choose to wake up at 6:00 am to observe the event. At this time, the planets will be above 30°, which is ideal to “escape” the atmospheric conditions that usually get in the way when objects are very close to the horizon.

However, the later, the closer you will be to witnessing the sunrise, which will completely overshadow the brightness of the planets. So, the tip for those who like to observe conjunctions for a longer period is to start preparing at 4:30 am, especially if you want to use a camera for photographs.

Over the next few nights, you can still find the planets aligned, but moving farther and farther apart — except for Jupiter and Mars, which approaches to an incredible conjunction at the end of May!

Source: Stellarium