NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 4 March 2023: Venus and Jupiter!

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day is a collage of the rare Venus and Jupiter conjunction.

| Updated on: Mar 04 2023, 16:15 IST
Top NASA Astronomy Pictures of the Week: Crescent Moon, Flaming Nebula, Venus to Jupiter
Venus and Jupiter conjunction
1/5 Venus-Jupiter Conjunction (Feb 27) - features the view of Venus and Jupiter, but with an unusual ray of light extending from the horizon. It is known as Zodiacal light, a band of dust reflecting sunlight from the inner Solar System which becomes noticeable during certain periods when observed after sunset or before sunrise. (NASA/Ruslan Merzlyakov)
crescent Moon
2/5 Crescent Moon and the Temple of Poseidon (Feb 28) - It is a stunning snapshot of the thin crescent Moon with the ancient Greek Temple of Poseidon at the forefront in Greece. According to NASA, the moonlight we see on Earth is sunlight reflected off the Moon's grayish-white surface. (NASA/Elias Chasiotis)
Flaming Star Nebula
3/5 Flaming Nebula, Tadpole Nebula and Comet ZTF (March 1) - Flaming Star Nebula and the Tadpole Nebula can be seen crossing paths with the Comet ZTF. IC405, otherwise known as the Flaming Star Nebula, lies about 1,500 light-years away toward the constellation of Auriga and spans about 5 light-years across.  (NASA/Thomas Roell)
nasa spiral galaxy
4/5 Spiral Galaxies NGC 3169 and NGC 3166 (March 2) - It is a stellar snapshot of Spiral Galaxy NGC 3169 and its neighbour NGC 3166. NGC 3169 is located almost 70 million light-years away in the constellation of Sextans (the Sextant). According to NASA, it is part of the Leo I Group of galaxies which is part of a larger galactic congregation known as the Virgo Supercluster.  (NASA/Mike Selby/Mark Hanson)
NASA supernova remnant
5/5 Supernova Remnant RCW 86 (March 3) - After the supernova explosion, its remnants are left behind, which are known as Supernova Remnants (SNR). NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is an extremely rare and historical snapshot of Supernova Remnant RCW 86 which spans around 100 light-years and is located nearly 8000 light-years away.  (NASA/CTIO/NOIRLab/DOE/NSF/AURA)
Venus and Jupiter
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On March 1-2, Venus and Jupiter came closest to each other in a rare conjunction. (Image Credit & Copyright: Soumyadeep Mukherjee)

In the last couple of weeks, Venus and Jupiter have continued their slow dance in the dark sky. For the past few weeks, the planets have been visible in the early evening skies, shining brightly. On March 1-2, they came closest to each other Ina rare conjunction. A planetary conjunction is basically a view when two planets appear close together in the Earth's night sky. This year, the bright planets of our solar system Jupiter and Venus appeared much closer together than usual.

You may have noticed Venus and Jupiter in the clear evening skies recently. It's hard to overlook this bright and close conjunction of these two planets. However, in case you have missed witnessing this rare planet conjunction, then NASA's shared a collage composed by astrophotographer Soumyadeep Mukherjee which shows the "10 Days of Venus and Jupiter" conjunction.

NASA explanation for 10 days of Venus and Jupiter

While sharing the photo, NASA explained that “with Jupiter at the top, starting on February 21 and ending on March 2, their close approach is chronicled daily, left to right, in these panels recorded from Dhanbad, India.” Depending on the local conditions at sunset, the colours and exposures of the evening sky are adjusted for each panel near the western horizon.

On February 22, the young crescent Moon joined Jupiter and Venus, and by March 2, the two planets appeared to be only as far apart as the width of a full moon, the space agency said. However, it should be noted that on that date, the two planets were actually separated by a distance of over 600 million kilometres in their respective orbits around the Sun.

Venus-Jupiter conjunction is in the settling phase

Over the next few days, Jupiter will gradually become more difficult to see due to the brightness of the setting sun, while Venus will continue to move away from the Sun in the western sky and shine brightly as the prominent evening star.

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First Published Date: 04 Mar, 16:14 IST