by Martin Leduc
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The beauty of the universe is that it regularly provides us with glasses for the eyes. And it’s free, what’s more. This Thursday, November 9, 2023, a new astronomical phenomenon will be at its peak: the conjunction of the Moon and Venus.
In amateur parlance, this means the two will be side by side for some time. Or at least it will seem that way. We’re talking about pairing.
This visual proximity is due to the play of orbits. By definition, the planets as well as all stellar bodies in the solar system all revolve around the sun. But thanks to their proximity to the latter, some go faster than others.
Venus, located about 108 million kilometers from the Sun, takes 224.7 days to orbit around it, while the Earth and the Moon, located about 150 million kilometers away, need 365 days.
Which means that sometimes, some stars appear close together in the sky. Last March, Venus and Jupiter appeared to be almost touching, even though the two planets are separated, albeit by a few million kilometers.
This time, it’s Venus who is worried again. It will not appear to be attached to a planet, but rather to the moon.
A kind of optical illusion
It works like horoscopes. Asked about this topic in a previous article, Jean-Pierre Martin, a nuclear physicist by trade, Chairman of the Cosmology Committee of the Astronomical Society of France, explained… actu.fr The constellations Leo, Taurus, or Destiny are nothing but “optical illusions.”
The constellation Ursa Major, for example, also called Casserole or Chariot, consists of several stars. Among them are Dubhé (Alpha Ursae Majoris) and Alioth (Epsilon Ursae Majoris). The first is about 123 light-years away from Earth, and the second is about 82.52 light-years away.
“A long time ago, we said to ourselves: ‘Oh, these stars, together, have the shape of destiny. And these, they look like a bull, and that’s it.
How to properly observe this phenomenon?
The fact remains that seeing the pairing is a beautiful sight.
For November 2023 between the Moon and Venus, we will have to rely on luck at first. The weather does not seem to be on our side from this point of view. But you never know!
Next, you should look towards the constellation Virgo, to the east, to the northeast. “Venus rises a few hours before sunrise, so this phenomenon will be most significant on Thursday, November 9, in the early morning,” says Jill Davidovich, vice president of the center. Astronomical Society of France.
Therefore, the best time is between 4am and 5am.
In short, we should look for the moon. to the West From it we will be able to see Venus, the brightest point in the sky (after the moon and the sun, of course).
Watching the show through a telescope can be a good idea: “You can take beautiful pictures using a smartphone attached to the telescope lens. “It’s System D, but it works.”
Note that since the sun will not be far from rising, you must be careful not to damage your eyes.
Venus will be completely obscured around 11 a.m.
If the conjunction of two stars is not particularly rare (on November 13, the Moon will be close to Mars, and on the 14th to Mercury), then Thursday, November 9, 2023 will be accompanied by a less frequent event. : From 10:53 a.m. to 11:57 a.m., Venus will be completely hidden by the Moon.
We are talking here about backbiting. “It is beautiful to watch. Through the telescope, we will be able to see the two crescent moons before Venus disappears behind the moon.”
Be careful, the sun will be very bright at this time and will reduce your chances of seeing the show. “But it is possible to see. It will take a beautiful blue sky, looking toward the southwest,” the vice president hopes.
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