2020 Venus-Pleiades Conjunction (1 Apr to 5 Apr)

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Christopher K.
Posts: 5480
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

2020 Venus-Pleiades Conjunction (1 Apr to 5 Apr)

Post by Christopher K. »

It happens once every eight years. The brightest planet in the sky (Venus) meets the brightest cluster in the sky (the Pleiades). Once every eight years, the two conjuct, but not just conjunct. They actually seem to merge together. I suppose one could call it a conjoining.

From Wednesday 1 April to Sunday 5 April, it is happening--each evening from 8:25pm to 9:55pm in the west...
Wed 1 Apr at 9pm = Venus 24˚ up with the Pleiades 1˚35' higher
Thu 2 Apr at 9pm = Venus 24˚ up with the Pleiades 0˚39' higher
Fri 3 Apr from 8:15pm to 9:15pm = Venus is actually inside the Pleiades pattern (!) with the star Atlas above it and the other main stars to its right
Sat 4 Apr at 9pm = Venus 24˚ up with the Pleiades 1˚10' lower
Sun 5 Apr at 9pm = Venus 24˚ up with the Pleiades 1˚54' lower

If you have a binocular, use it! If you don't, still view this beautiful event.

More information:
https://lowell.edu/how-to-observe-the-c ... -pleiades/

Pertinent graphics:
https://skyandtelescope.org/wp-content/ ... pr03ev.jpg
https://astronomy.com/sitefiles/resourc ... 48CB80C2F}
https://jeffreylhunt.files.wordpress.co ... 0-0407.png

Christopher K.
Posts: 5480
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 Venus-Pleiades Conjunction (1 Apr to 5 Apr)

Post by Christopher K. »

Bob King's writeup has a wonderful graphic showing the movement of Venus past the Pleiades. When using the angular separations above, remember the Full Moon is a half-degree (0˚30') across.

Here is the NOAA forecast for 9pm...
precipitation potential, 0%
sky cover, 0%
relative humidity, 60%
temperature, 17˚C
surface wind, S 8 km/h

Danko's Clear Dark Sky states that during HRPO's viewing time both the transparency rating and the seeing rating will be "average" (3 out of 5). This is easily the best forecast of the five nights.

More information:
https://skyandtelescope.org/observing/t ... ome-venus/

Christopher K.
Posts: 5480
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 Venus-Pleiades Conjunction (1 Apr to 5 Apr)

Post by Christopher K. »

Okay--tonight's the night! Venus is fewer than six light-minutes away, and the Pleiades siblings are 440 light-years away, so of course this "coming together" is a matter of perspective. Indeed, we see the Pleiades as they existed around the year 1580--the last year of Sir Francis Drake's legendary circumnavigation of the Earth!...
https://www.loc.gov/rr/rarebook/catalog ... usvoy.html

Here is the NOAA forecast for 8:30pm...
precipitation potential, 0%
sky cover, 33%
relative humidity, 63%
temperature, 22˚C
surface wind, E 4 km/h

Danko's Clear Dark Sky states that during HRPO's viewing time both the transparency rating and the seeing rating will be "average" (3 out of 5). This is a very good forecast. If anyone would like to submit an image or a sketch (or a verbal recounting) of your view of this amazing event, please send it to observatory@brec.org and HRPO staff will post it online. Call 768-9948 for real-time support viewing this event. Don't forget your sketching form...
http://hrpo.lsu.edu/

And look...Lionel Majzik has captured a brilliant image of the event with the International Space Station streaking through...
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200403.html

And look..here's another beautiful prediction graphic, this time from Fred Espenak...
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200402.html

Christopher K.
Posts: 5480
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 Venus-Pleiades Conjunction (1 Apr to 5 Apr)

Post by Christopher K. »

Well, I saw it Friday night at about 8:20pm. What a sight! I was wondering how much the Pleiades would be glared out by the brightness of Venus, but they weren't at all. Judah Santiago got a great shot here in town, and so did Fred Espenak...
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200404.html

I think Judah may be posting his image soon.

Christopher K.
Posts: 5480
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 Venus-Pleiades Conjunction (1 Apr to 5 Apr)

Post by Christopher K. »

I'm sure many were wondering how many across the globe were graced with clear skies all throughout the five-evening event. Antonio Finazzi in Italy apparently did...
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200411.html

The description mentions that Venus' unnatural spikes were created with a camera lens. Certain "masks" fitted over telescope tubes can produce such spikes during star photography.

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