The conjunction of Venus and Saturn is one of the most fascinating astronomical events most skywatchers have been hoping to observe for a long time. Astronomers announced that the first closest observable pairing of planets in 2023 will appear over Earth’s sky on Sunday, January 22. On that day, Venus and Saturn will be in conjunction with each other.
They will appear visible enough that they can be seen clearly with a telescope and possibly naked eyes. This implies that this will be the first pairing of naked-eyes planets of this year. Aside from the planets pairing, a crescent moon will also be joining the parade. So how can you observe this astronomical event and get the best out of it? Continue reading to find out.
How to Spot Venus and Saturn Participate in the first planetary Conjunction of 2023 on January 22
If you want to observe the two planets in conjunction, you may or may not need a telescope. On January 22, Venus will meet up with giant ringed Saturn in an astronomical event known as a conjunction. During this conjunction, Venus will be so close to Saturn that the distance separating the two planets will be less than half a degree. The planets will move so close that they will appear in the same field of view when observed through a telescope.
You can get the best viewing experience of this conjunction by looking towards the Southwest direction on Jan. 22 at 1730 GMT. Astronomers revealed that the pair will appear noticeable after 1900 GMT that same day. You don’t necessarily need telescopes and binoculars to view this close conjunction. However, you can use them to improve your viewing experience and capture the best out of the astronomical event.
If you cannot catch up with Venus on Saturn on January 22, you can also stand the chance of seeing them come close together on the 21st and 23rd of January. Astronomers announced that a crescent moon will join Venus and Saturn on January 22 and 23. Hence, you will need a telescope or binoculars to get a clearer view of the Conjunction on these days.
During this astronomical event, Venus will be much easier to spot immediately after sunset as it will be shining at a magnitude of -4. At the same time, Saturn will be shining at +0.7 magnitude, which will position slightly up and towards the left of Venus. Keep in mind that the brighter a star or planet appears over the Earth’s night sky, the lower its magnitude number.
How Venus and Saturn Will Appear Over Earth’s Night Sky this Weekend
During this weekend and into the start of next week, you should be able to spot two planets and a crescent moon over the Earth’s night sky. The planets will appear to move lower as the twilight deepens. Hence, if you want to get a clearer view, ensure that you have an unobstructed west-southwest horizon view. Observing the astronomical event from an open space will increase your chances of getting a clearer picture of Venus and Saturn.
On Saturday, January 21, a brilliant shining Venus will zip past Saturn. The ringed gas giant planet will be standing over one degree above and to the left of Venus. This distance will be about twice the apparent width of the moon.
The next day, Sunday, January 22, Venus will position at about 0.35 a degree towards the left and slightly below Saturn. This distance is a little shorter than three-quarters of the moon’s width. The crescent moon will be 2% illuminated which will make it slightly difficult for you to spot the planets in conjunction with the naked eye.
How venus and Saturn will appear on January 23
During the next day, Monday, January 23, the configuration of the planet’s conjunction will change. Venus will move to a position approximately one degree to the upper left of Saturn. The crescent moon will be 6% illuminated and appear much brighter and wider. The moon will move past the planets and move to about eight degrees to their upper left position. This implies that the moon will be widely separated from the planet conjunction on Jan. 23.
Astronomers revealed that the moon is much closer to Earth than it would get throughout this year. We should be expecting the moon to reach its extreme perigee distance to Earth on Saturday (January 21). This implies that as you observe the two planets this weekend, you are also seeing the moon at its closest distance of about (Jan. 21) 221,700 miles (356,600 km). This will be followed by Venus at a distance of about 143 million miles (230 million km). Saturn during the conjunction will come closer to Earth at a distance of about 998 million miles (1.61 billion km).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you see conjunctions of planets?
Conjunctions of two bright objects can be spotted with the naked eye or telescope or binoculars. During conjunctions, two astronomical objects such as planets usually come closer to earth and shine so brightly over Earth’s sky. However, you have to be in a region with no light pollution and clear skies to get a clearer view of the planets in conjunction.
Can you see Saturn with the naked eye?
Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun. As the second largest after Jupiter, you can spot it with the naked eye without the need for a telescope. In fact, Saturn belongs to a class of the five planets that can easily be spotted without a telescope. Other planets that can be observed with the naked eye include (Mercury, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter).
How do you know if two planets are conjunct?
Two planets are considered to be in conjunction with each other if they have the same right ascension or moving in the same ecliptic longitude. During this weekend, you should see Venus and Saturn in conjunction with each other.
As you go out this weekend, ensure that you come along with your telescope to capture the best view of Venus and Saturn alongside a crescent moon. You can share your fascinating astrophotography with us here. We at Future Space World is wishing you all a happy viewing. What do you think about this fascinating astronomical event?