The Moon Joins Brilliant Venus in the August Sky
Seize the opportunity to witness the lunar crescent shining next to the dazzling "morning star" this August. Read on to find out how and when to see the Moon and Venus conjunction, where in the sky Venus is tonight and more interesting facts about this planet.
The Moon and Venus Conjunction
The bright duet of the Moon and Venus will grace the sky on Saturday, August 15, 2020, at 12:44 GMT (08:44 a.m. EDT). Having visited Mars on August 9, 2020, the Moon will pass within 3°59' of Venus in the sky. The 26 days old lunar crescent and the brilliant "morning star" will make a close approach in the constellation Gemini, shining at magnitudes of -10.6 and -4.3, respectively. The maximum magnitude of Venus is -4.4; it is the brightest planet visible from Earth. Clouds covering Venus' surface reflect 76% of the sunlight that reaches the planet.
The Moon and Venus will appear in the eastern part of the sky before sunrise. The bright crescent Moon is easy to find – let it be your guide. Once you notice the Moon, you’ll easily spot brilliant Venus shining next to it. The celestial bodies will be visible to the unaided eye. Gaze on them through binoculars to get a closer look.
You can take advantage of the stargazing guide Star Walk 2 to determine when the Moon and Venus rise and set in the sky above you. Moreover, the application will help you to find them and observe the stars and constellations shining next to this prominent astronomical duet.
Venus at greatest western elongation
The "morning star" reached its westernmost elongation and appeared at greatest separation from the Sun (as viewed from Earth) on Thursday, August 13, 2020. It is the best time to see Venus being at the maximum angular distance of approximately 46° from the Sun, whose glare can’t outshine it. When Venus is at westernmost elongation, you can enjoy its finest morning apparition. These apparitions take place only once in approximately 1.5 years, so don’t miss the opportunity to see Venus these days!
Phases of Venus
Venus has phases similar to those of the Moon. The planet changes its phases as it follows its orbit around the Sun. Venus reaches its half phase (or dichotomy) around its greatest elongation from the blazing star of the Solar system. Venus in dichotomy could be observed on August 12, 2020.
Galileo Galilei was the first astronomer to observe the phases of Venus through a telescope in 1610. His observations contradicted the Ptolemaic system, which presupposed that the Sun, the Moon, planets, and stars orbited not the Sun but Earth. Galileo’s discovery supported the Copernican system, stating that the Sun is the center of the universe. Being a strong advocate of the revolutionary Copernican system, Galilei experienced a serious conflict with the Catholic church. He had to give up his views that were proved right and became widely held decades later.
Keep yourself updated on the most noteworthy astronomical news with Star Walk 2: find out what’s happening in the sky in the app’s “What’s new” section.
Enjoy the Moon and Venus adorning the sky of the last summer month!