Venus will meet up with Mars in the very early morning sky on Saturday (March 12) — here’s how you can catch the planetary duo.
The two planets will appear close to each other in the south-eastern sky as they reach conjunction, meaning they will share the same right ascension or celestial longitude. The pair will be visible at dawn, rising around 4:20 a.m. EST (0920 GMT), nearly two hours before sunrise, according to In-The-Sky.org.
Skywatchers in the northeast will have to wake up early to catch the Venus-Mars conjunction. The pair will rise to an altitude of 12 degrees above the south-eastern horizon. However, the planets will quickly fade from view as the dawn breaks around 5:51 a.m. EST (1051 GMT).
Venus returned to the early morning sky in February, taking its place as the dazzling “morning star.” Therefore, the planet will be easy to spot, appearing about 200 times brighter than its companion, Mars. Venus will have a magnitude of -4.5, while Mars will have a magnitude of 1.2. You’ll be able to spot the Red Planet by looking slightly southeast of Venus.
Located in the constellation Capricornus, the two planets will be only about four degrees apart. While they’ll be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, the planets will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars when looking to the southeast before sunrise.
Our guides for the best telescopes and best binoculars can help find the right instrument for you for the next skywatching event. If you’re hoping to snap photos of the planets, here’s our guides for the best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography.
Saturn will join Venus and Mars later this month in the morning sky, beginning March 18. Skywatchers can track the ringed planet steadily moving toward Mars and Venus a few days prior, as the trio will be visible low in the east before sunrise.
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