Set your alarm clock for early in the morning of 22nd February 2024, for a special conjunction of Mars and Venus (a conjunction is where two astronomical objects, likes planets, appear close together in the sky).
The planetary pair rise in the southern sky together around 03:53 (AWST) — that’s a full two hours and minutes minutes before sunrise. For all you early bird stargazers (or anyone who hasn’t gone to bed yet), look to the eastern horizon where Mars and the morning star, Venus, will be incredibly close together. While the pair will be too far apart to easily fit within a telescope’s viewfinder, this makes the conjunction a great choice for naked eye astronomy, or viewing through a pair of binoculars.
Check out the above image from Stellarium.com to get an idea of what you’re looking for, and grab a copy of the latest Astronomy Australia almanac from Quasar Publishing and learn all you need to know about what to see in our night sky,
When to look: 03:53 to 05:41, 22nd February
Which direction to look: East-south-east before dawn in the morning sky.
Ancient astronomers recognised that five “stars” moved quickly and predictably across the night sky. These stars were monitored and tracked and are now recognised as the five planets visible to the naked eye: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
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There’s always something interesting happening in the night sky and country WA is the best place to catch all the action!