Science

Mars and Venus conjunction: See the planets snuggle on Monday night

The red planet and Earth's hellish twin will meet up in the night sky.

NASA's illustration of the July 12 Mars and Venus conjunction shows you what to look for.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Venus and Mars, two planets humanity is deep obsessed with right now, will make a joint appearance together in the night sky on Monday, July 12, as they cozy up to each other in a close conjunction. 

A conjunction happens when celestial bodies appear to get close to (or meet) each other. Mars and Venus won't by physically close out there in space, but from our vantage point here on Earth the two dots of light will look like they're getting together for a private chat.

Venus will be living up to its "Evening Star" nickname this month as it shows up low in the sky shortly after sunset "In fact, you can watch each evening as Venus and Mars get closer, culminating with a close conjunction on July 12th, when they'll be only a finger's width apart," said NASA in a skygazing update for July.

Monday night will be a particularly good time to catch the two planets snuggling, since the crescent moon will look like a fingernail trimming and won't drown out the spectacle. 

As for viewing, check your local sunset time at Timeanddate.com, head outside about a half hour later and look for the planets to make an appearance toward the west. Mars won't be as bright as Venus, but you should be able to see its distinctive reddish hue.

Be sure to wave at all the Mars rovers while you're out there, and look ahead to humanity's new missions to Venus. The two planets will continue to be objects of fascination even as we seek to peel back their layers of mystery.

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