This upcoming week begins and ends with Venus in the night’s sky.
After dominating the sky all throughout June and aligning with the twin stars of the Gemini constellation on June 10, as reported by the Inquisitr, Venus continues to put on a show in July.
The second planet from the sun will keep on shining brightly after sunset, visible in the sky alongside its planetary neighbor, Mercury, up until the middle of the month, the Inquisitr recently reported.
At the same time, Venus is due for two more celestial encounters, reports Space.com.
Sky watchers turning their gaze to the stars on July 9 and July 15 can see the dazzling planet — the brightest in our solar system — pair up with the Regulus star on Monday and later in the weekend with the moon.
Venus Pops By Regulus
First up is Regulus. This bright star is the most luminous of the Leo constellation (the Lion) and resides in the lower portion of the lion’s head, colloquially known as the Sickle.
Found right at the end of the sickle’s handle, this blue-white star will be visible to the naked eye right next to the much brighter Venus — the planet will be 158 times more luminous than Regulus, notes Space.com.
The two have begun to move closer to one another since Saturday and will be keeping each other company until July 12. Their closest approach, slated for Monday night, will see Venus and Regulus come within a distance of only one degree from each other.
To get the best out of your stargazing experience, keep your binoculars close by and “look low toward the west around 9:45 p.m. local time,” advises Space.com.
If tonight Venus and Regulus can be seen side by side, their position will subtly change over the next couple of days, until the planet ends up sitting directly above the star on Tuesday night.
Weekend Date With The Moon
Looking toward the weekend, Venus has a date with the moon on Sunday night.
The new moon rising on July 12 will get rid of its “puffy,” round-faced appearance and turn into a slender crescent moon by Sunday night, with the planet to its left.
Sky watchers in the eastern United States will get a nice glimpse of the two celestial bodies seen about two degrees apart. Meanwhile, viewers in the western U.S. will be treated to an even greater spectacle, as Venus and the moon will appear twice as close together.
Another thing to look forward to is lunar Earthshine, a phenomenon in which the dark portion of the crescent moon, which will only be 12 percent illuminated, is given a blue-grey glow by Earth-reflected sunlight.
Don’t miss out on this beautiful optical effect and grab your binoculars to take in a more detailed look of Venus and the moon strolling across the sky.