Two of Earth’s immediate neighbours — Venus and Mars — will be coming closest to one another next week in a celestial event termed ‘planetary conjunction’.
Easily visible with the naked eye and observable only from earth, a conjunction occurs when two planets appear to have come close to each other even though they remain far away from one another.
In the latest conjunction, which is set to take place on July 13, will see Mars and Venus stay just 0.5 degrees apart (though this is quite far in the actual distance). This sight will be visible in the western sky or horizon under clear sky conditions soon after sunset.
This time, the conjunction shall also have the moon getting close and stay within 4 degrees of the two planets on the night of July 12, making it three-celestial-body conjunction.
Sky gazers and astronomy enthusiasts can begin observing the sky from Thursday and continue till Tuesday in order to observe the apparent coming closer of Mars and Venus. Continued observations thereafter will also reveal the moving-away of these planets after July 13.
Pune-based Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) and Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IAA), Bengaluru, have invited photograph entries of the event, the best among which will be published by the institutes.