Washington, March 30 (ANI): Reports indicate that sky gazers are going be treated with the rare spectacle of Venus and Mercury forming an eye-catching pair for nearly the next two weeks, about 30 to 60 minutes after sunset.
“Mercury is pretty hard to spot most of the time, so a lot of people have never recognized it in their lives,” said Alan MacRobert, a senior editor of Sky and Telescope magazine.
“Now’s your chance. This is as good as Mercury gets, especially with Venus marking the way,” he added.
Venus is the brighter of the two planets. It’s the famed “Evening Star,” currently making its way out from behind the glare of the Sun into twilight view.
Avid sky watchers should look for Mercury glittering to Venus’s lower right from now through about April 3rd, and almost directly to Venus’s right from about April 4th through 10th.
Their exact orientation will depend a bit on an observer’s latitude.
They will appear closest together on April 3rd and 4th, separated by about the width of two fingers held at arm’s length (3 degrees).
By April 10th, Mercury will be fading rapidly, as it swings toward the direction between Earth and the Sun and shows us less and less of its sunlit side.
Although the two planets appear close together, they’re not. Venus is about 1.5 times farther away.
On April 3rd, Mercury and Venus are 94 million and 146 million miles from Earth, respectively.
That means it takes their light 8.4 and 13 minutes to reach us.
“Don’t miss this chance to do a little astronomy from your backyard, balcony, or rooftop,” said Sky and Telescope associate editor Tony Flanders. “It’s a big universe, and planets await,” he added. (ANI)