When you can see Mars and Venus close together next week

Planetary conjunction.png
Posted at 12:49 PM, Jul 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-10 22:39:49-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Keep your eyes towards the sky next week, because Venus and Mars will be the closest they've ever been.

"Venus and Mars will appear close together - only about a finger's width apart in the sky," said Giada Arney, DAVINCI Deputy Principal Investigator.

Of course the planets won't physically be that close in space, it's just from Earth's perspective. NASA experts said the alignment is called a "planetary conjunction." In other words, Earth's two closest neighbors will be visible in the same field of view on Monday night into Tuesday.

"You can spot Venus and Mars if you look low in the western sky, beginning about half an hour after sunset," said Arney.

Mars has been studied by NASA researchers for quite some time, and now the agency is taking a leap to look at Venus.

"Right now NASA has selected two Venus missions to explore our sister for the first time in decades. One, which will globally map the surface with advanced radar and infrared radiation," said Jim Garvin, DAVINCI's Principal Investigator. "And the other, our DAVINCI mission, will bring a spacecraft, for the first time developed by NASA, into the atmosphere with a chemistry lab and human-scale vision."

Garvin said understanding what's happening on our sister planet can help make connections to those light-years away.

"That connection is important in this blooming era of astrophysics and planetary exploration. So Venus really is special," he said.

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