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Planetary Conjunction between Venus and Mars

Monday,12 July 2021 10:40 PM IST

Yashashee Malpathak


A conjunction is an astronomical event in which two celestial objects appear to be close together in the sky when viewed from Earth. This can include asteroids, moons, planets, and even stars. Such an occurrence is going to happen on 12th and 13th July when Venus and Mars, the two closest planets to Earth, will be able to be seen passing close to each other.

 Planets of the solar system follow elliptical orbits around the Sun that are slightly inclined to one another. Other planets appear to float around in the sky from our vantage point on Earth. While the planets—which were once referred to as "wandering stars" by early astronomers because they moved far faster in the night sky than the "fixed" stars—may appear as pinpricks of light to the inexperienced eye, they are planetary bodies in our solar system. When planets appear to occupy the same space in the sky at night due to their alignment, even though they are millions of kilometers apart, it is called the conjunction of planets.

On Tuesday, 13th July—months after the world watched the Great Conjunction when Jupiter and Saturn aligned, another celestial event will be visible in the skies as Mars and Venus align. The two planets will line up with the Moon and be visible in the western sky shortly after sunset.

The three planets will be separated by barely 0.5 degrees on 13th July 2021, which is as wide as the size of the Moon, with the crescent Moon passing within four degrees of the two planets on 12th July 2021. According to the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Astrophysics, the conjunction may be seen with the naked eye.

The occurrence is part of the conjunction, which occurs when two or more planets appear to be closer to each other but are millions of kilometers apart in the expanse of the universe. In clear weather, Mars and Venus will both be visible on the western horizon just after sunset. Mars and Venus will move away from each other in their orbits after Tuesday. Stargazers will be able to catch a glimpse of this celestial spectacle just after sunset from any place in India if the weather is clear.

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