Sunday, July 17, 2011

Conjunction Week is Underway!

Fact: Conjunctions occur when a body aligns with another, or at least in ten degrees of each object. Another fact: Five planets and three minor planets/asteroids have decided to conjunct the moon at different times throughout a fifteen day period. Yes, it's true. This is not technically called a 'conjunction week,' but you can see how close it really is! The moon just happens to be in the right spot at the right time and here we will behold eight conjunctions to come, so watch out!

Conjunctions Between July 16 - July 30

JULY 16 - Asteroid 2 Pallas conjuncts with the moon today at 18:43:18 UT.

JULY 17 - Protoplanet 4 Vesta conjuncts with the moon today at 03:28:53 UT.

JULY 18 - Neptune conjuncts with the moon today at 05:39:57 UT.

JULY 20 - Minor Planet 1 Ceres conjuncts with the moon today at 17:46:31 UT.

JULY 21 - Uranus conjuncts with the moon today at 01:42:45 UT.

JULY 23 - Jupiter conjuncts with the moon today at 21:57:42 UT.

JULY 27 - Mars conjuncts with the moon, but Mars travels behind the moon's disk resulting in an occultation that takes place at 16:49:49 UT. More information on this occultation will be posted on July 25.

JULY 30 - Venus conjuncts with the moon today at 09:26:25 UT.

The reasons why Mercury and Saturn did not choose to conjunct this week was simple. Mercury conjuncted July 2, while Saturn did on July 7. Saturn will conjunct again next on August 4, and Mercury on August 1.

Can I view these conjunctions where I am? This can be answered in two ways, a short version, or a long version. Mainly in the short version, you can view these depending where you live. In the long version answer, it depends on a number of things. Although the moon is bright currently (around 16 of July), these conjunctions will be harder to view, especially with low-magnitude objects, like Ceres, Pallas, Vesta, Uranus, and Neptune to name a few. Jupiter and Mars are fairly bright and are great when the moon isn't so full. Celestia offers a grand view of these objects, if you would care to try it out, here's it home page.

May 1 conjunction of Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury (with Mars).

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