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Conjuction of Venus and Mars!

A celestial spectacle awaits early risers this Thursday, February 22nd, as the planets Venus and Mars converge in the eastern dawn sky. Set your alarm clocks for dawn, and prepare to witness a captivating celestial event as these two planets come within a mere 0.6 degrees of each other. The show continues as the planets slowly move away from each other during the next few mornings ahead.

Observing this planetary encounter requires clear views to East before sunrise. Venus, the brighter of the two planets, will be the first to catch your eye. Its dazzling brilliance will pierce through the twilight, easily visible before the break of dawn. To spot Mars, you may need the aid of binoculars, particularly as it will be surrounded by the soft glow of the approaching daylight. Despite its fainter appearance compared to Venus, Mars will still be discernible as a distinct reddish point of light in close proximity to its brighter companion. Using a telescope will reveal the two planets in deeper detail. Like all planets in our solar system, Mars and Venus both have phases just like the moon. Venus will appear as almost round due to it’s orbital position related to the Sun. A keen eye will spot the elliptical shape of the planet.

Venus can appear as a very thin cresent too during it's orbit around the Sun that will take 225 days.

As Venus is covered in thick atmosphere made mainly of Carbon Dioxide, the surface details of the planet are never visible. Only specialized filters like UV and IR can reveal faint details of the cloud formations in the planet’s atmosphere. Mars on the other hand, displays multiple interesting regions that are visible with telescopes like the famous polar ice caps.

As you gaze upon this celestial spectacle, take a moment to contemplate the vastness of the universe and our place within it. These fleeting moments of celestial alignment serve as reminders of the beauty and wonder that surround us, encouraging us to look up and appreciate the marvels of the cosmos. Whether you're an avid stargazer or simply curious about the wonders of the universe, this rare celestial event promises to be a sight to behold!

Surface of Mars can be revealed with modest equipment, this photo is taken with 8" Newtonian telescope and a ZWO ASI178MM camera.

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