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Stunning Photo: Luna Snuggles With Goddess of Love

The waxing crescent moon appears to play peek-a-boo with the planet Venus through a natural rock arch in this dramatic snapshot taken in Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. Sky-watchers this week got to see Earth’s lone natural satellite glide past the second planet from the sun in the southwestern skies. The two worlds…

Sky Show: Jupiter and Moon in Super Close Pairing

Two of the brightest objects in the night sky head towards a close encounter on Monday night. The sky show begins after local nightfall on the 21st when the waxing gibbous moon snuggles up to brilliant white Jupiter in the southeast. This closeness is of course just an illusion – they are in reality separate…

Night Sky News: Tiny Mercury Easy to See This Week

Of the eight planets in our solar system, five are visible to the naked eye: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Known since ancient times, these naked-eye planets appear similar to stars, but they “wander” across the sky instead of staying in fixed positions relative to each other. Knowing where a planet will pop up…

Jupiter Doing Crescent Moon Driveby This Weekend

If you step outside tonight (and the skies are clear), look to the southwest just after sunset to see the start of a celestial driveby. Just above the horizon you should see a slim sliver of a crescent moon—just 4 percent of the lunar orb’s daylit side will be facing Earth. High above, to the…

Solar Conjunction: Mars Missions Take a Load Off

The holiday season has officially descended upon us, and many a child is eagerly waiting for that jolly red roundness with a snowy white cap to appear in the sky. Meanwhile, anyone whose day job requires listening for and deciphering radio signals from Mars is probably only too glad that white-capped red ball has hidden…

Venus Is Boiling, Odd Dark Spots Suggest

Unless you live underground or in a very cloudy part of the world, it was pretty hard to miss the crazy conjunction of Venus and Jupiter Monday night that, when joined by the crescent moon, smiled on one side of Earth while frowning on the other. But as millions of skywatchers reveled in that display,…

Conjunction Junction

[What follows is a guest post from my NG colleague Susan Poulton, who was kind enough to fill in for me while I was enjoying a couple days off for my birthday. Thanks, SP!] And, but, or—they will all get you pretty far, but to witness one of the best sky shows of 2008, you…

Stargazer Alert! Venus and Jupiter in Conjunction This December

The planets (plus Pluto) in an approximate size, but not distance, comparison —Image courtesy NASA/Lunar and Planetary Laboratory The astronomy gods are giving me a pretty nice birthday present this year: a planetary reunion. On December 1 at 7:36 p.m. ET, Venus and Jupiter will be in conjunction, the astronomical term for “really close together…