Celestial treat: Catch Mars `snuggle` with Venus this month

Avid sky watchers are in for a celestial treat to catch Venus and Mars paired together in a bunch starting from February 20th till the end of the month.

Skygazers can look in west-southwest during and after dusk and one can see the bright Venus joining faint Mars in a bunch, with the crescent Moon now looking down on them from above.

The closest pairing of the two planets or what the what astronomers call a conjunction, can be witnessed on February 21 and 22.

The event can be seen with naked eyes and one can also use telescope or binoculars incase weather plays a spoilsport to see it.

On 21st the pair will appear 1/2 degree apart for viewers in North America, which is about the width of a pencil held at arm’s length.

Venus and Mars have been edging closer together all month. Venus blazes in the southwest during late dusk; it’s been climbing a little higher week by week. Mars, meanwhile, has lingered in roughly the same part of the twilight sky for several months, refusing to depart

Mars is only about 1 percent as bright as Venus just now and since the pairing on the 21st is so close, Schaaf cautions, little Mars might be hard to see in Venus’s glare without optical aid, in other words, grab binoculars or a telescope to enhance your viewing experience.

Although these objects appear close together as you watch them in the deepening dusk, they’re really not. Venus is 134 million miles from Earth right now, while Mars is 203 million miles away. The Moon is much, much closer: only about 225,000 miles distant.

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