Mars-Saturn and Jupiter-Venus conjunctions are happening this month!

Jupiter Venus Saturn Mars conjunctions

Skywatcher, you have a chance to see not just one, but two planetary conjunctions in April 2022!

A conjunction is a celestial event when two planets, a planet and the moon or a planet and a star, appear close together in Earth’s night sky. Conjunctions don’t have any deep astronomical meaning, but they are beautiful to look at. Conjunctions between planets occur frequently in our solar system because the planets orbit the sun in roughly the same plane – the plane of the ecliptic – and thus trace similar orbits across our sky.

The first planetary meeting takes place on the morning of April 4th and 5th before sunrise and includes[{” attribute=””>Mars and Saturn, with Saturn being the brightest. These two planets will come together, appearing as almost a single point of light. However, if you grab your binoculars, you’ll easily see the scene with the planets switching positions on each morning.

Mars-Saturn Conjunction Illustration

An illustration of the Mars-Saturn conjunction looking east in Huntsville, Alabama, at 6:00 a.m. on the morning of April 4, 2022. Credit: NASA/Marshall

We will also see a bright Jupiter ascend quickly in the morning twilight, heading towards Venus in the final week of April. Catch a great view of the planets on the morning of April 27, which will include a waxing Moon.

Jupiter and Venus will then meet in conjunction during the morning of April 30 – appearing to nearly collide into each other. Due to the glare from both planets, observers will see them merge into one very bright, spectacular glow!

Jupiter-Venus Conjunction Illustration

An illustration of the Jupiter-Venus conjunction looking east in Huntsville, Alabama, at 6:00 a.m. on the morning of April 30, 2022. Credit: NASA/Marshall

Venus’s orbit is closer to the Sun than the Earth’s, and Jupiter’s orbit is much farther away, so the proximity is an illusion, occurring only because Earth, Venus, and Jupiter happen to be approximately aligned. This celestial event will continue on the morning of May 1, but the positions of the planets, Jupiter and Venus, will be reversed.

If you want to know what else is in the sky for April, check out the latest “What’s Up” video from Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

The cluster of planets in the morning sky increases from three to four as Jupiter joins the party. Two close conjunctions – between Mars and Saturn and Venus and Jupiter – provide highlights at the beginning and end of the month. And the Big Dipper is home to a surprise: a double star that you may be able to “share” with your own eyes. Mars-Saturn and Jupiter-Venus conjunctions are happening this month!

Russell Falcon

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