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Sunday, January 22, 2023

Conjunction of Saturn and Venus

Saturn and Venus will be in close conjunction with each other on the night of Sunday January 22 and the rest of that week. Conjunction appears when the planets are closest together in our line of sight.

On January 22 the two planets are just 1/3° apart at sunset, less than the diameter of a full moon. On that night Saturn will be just above Venus. By the next night, January 23, Venus will have moved upward and will be above Saturn. It will be joined on the 23rd by a beautiful new moon crescent, making a spectacular tableau.

To see them look westward toward the sunset point starting at 5:30pm. Venus will be unmistakable in its brightness with Saturn very close by but much dimmer. Binoculars will help, but not necessary. You will only be able to see the rings of Saturn with a telescope, otherwise they are just points of light.  Y 6:30pm they will have set and disappeared below the horizon, so you just have a 1 hour time window to view the beautiful sight.

During the conjunction you have the opportunity to see all 4 of the naked eye planets. To the upper left of Venus and Saturn is bright Jupiter, almost as bright as Venus and nearly overhead is bright red Mars. Mercury will not be visible, so 4 out of the 5 naked eye planets at once, not too shabby.

Saturn and Venus on January 22, 2023

Saturn and Venus on January 23, 2023

My poor smartphone photo of Saturn and Venus on Saturday night January 21 about 6:15pm, setting over Machtesh Ramon. 

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