Two planets - Venus and Jupiter – put up a spectacular celestial show earlier this month, aligning next to each other. An even more interesting and rare astronomical phenomenon will take place on Friday, July 17 with the crescent moon, Venus and Jupiter conjunction set to form a triangle. It will be visible to the naked eyes.
The three brightest celestial bodies - moon, Venus and Jupiter - after the sun, will form a triangle in the night sky. They will be seen lined up so close to each other though they are millions of miles apart.
It will be the second celestial show after Venus and Jupiter conjunction that took place on July 1.
Interestingly, some have linked the celestial show to 'Star of Bethlehem', claiming that it happens only once in 2,000 years. However, such pairings are common.
"The way that the planets are arranged in the most recent conjunction is believed to be the same as that event over 2,000 years ago," Albert Lim, assistant honorary secretary of The Astronomical Society of Singapore (Tasos) told Straits Times.
"You have a thin crescent moon forming a triangle with two bright planets, Venus and Jupiter, in the western sky. So although conjunctions are not rare, the event is beautiful and scenic and offers a great opportunity for photographers to explore creative angles," he added.
Alignment of two or more celestial bodies in the skies is not uncommon. Venus and Jupiter will once again appear close to each other on October 26 of this year, and they appeared close to the moon in 2012. So, claims that such celestial shows happen only once in 2,000 years is not true.
How and When to Watch the Celestial Show Live with Your Naked Eyes?
The crescent moon, Venus and Jupiter will form a triangle on Friday and it can be seen with the naked eyes at night. The ideal time and the day to watch the phenomenon will vary depending on the location and time zone. They will make an appearce at 9.15pm EDT on Saturday, July 18, in the US East Coast, while it will be witnessed on July 19 at other countries.
The moon will actually occult (pass in front of) Venus on Sunday, July 19 at 1am UT/9pm EDT (Saturday night) favoring the South Pacific, though the rest of the world will see a stunningly close pass, reported Universe Today.
"To observe this event, go to a location with a clear view of the west with as few horizon obstructions as possible," Dr Abel Yang, who teaches physics and astronomy at the National University of Singapore, told Straits Times. "A west-facing high-rise balcony or window may be a good idea," he suggested.