Venus has a been powerful presence at dusk for months — bright enough to cast shadows. How would you like to put it to the test? The Moon won't spoil the darkness until at least April 24th — April 25th if you wait till after moonset — making it the perfect time to see your own shadow by the light of another celestial body.
Bring in winter with a bang with a beautiful, close conjunction and a rare planet-star occultation.
Inspired by a "Sun, Moon & Planets" column, the author spent the spring of 2017 tracking Venus's retrograde motion across the sky, exploring the relationship between the orbits of Venus and the Earth pointed out by Copernicus.
A familiar light shines in the east at dusk, Venus makes a pit stop at a departing star cluster, and Comet PanSTARRS (C/2016 M1) coaxes before dawn.
If you rise before dawn on Monday, August 18th, you'll be rewarded with the sight of the closest planet pairing of the year — and not just any planets, but the two brightest ones: Venus and Jupiter.