This Week's Amazing Sky: The Solstice Conjunction!

Thin Crescent Moon

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June 20, 2015 was the year’s best conjunction.

A gorgeous brilliant triangle—of Venus, Jupiter, and the crescent Moon—floats eerily in the west in fading twilight. It will even linger through the first hours of full darkness. The three brightest objects of the night all stand together. Truly spectacular.


Photo of a conjunction from February, 2015. Credit: NASA

This is a don’t miss event. If it’s clear Saturday evening, be sure to take a look any time between 9 and 10 PM. If it’s cloudy, peek the next night, even though the Moon will have shifted to the left and the configuration will have changed from a triangle to an irregular line.

This all happens against the faint stars of the constellation Cancer, which looks like a crab only to those with vivid imaginations. But Leo’s blue star Regulus is just to the left of the conjunction, though not as luminous as the three protagonists.

It would be amazing if the Sun magically went out all of a sudden while you were watching this trio in the twilight. First Venus would vanish. Then, essentially simultaneously, we’d lose the Moon and the colors of dusk. But Jupiter would still linger for another 90 minutes, as “old” sunlight continues on into the distance, then reflects off its enormous gassy surface and back to our eyes.

If you ever see this happening, grab the phone and sell your stocks.More realistically that night, pick up your cell and tell your friends to check out the western sky.

Tell us if you see this amazing sight!

Got binoculars? Here’s my advice on what binoculars do for you.

~ By  Bob Berman

About This Blog

Welcome to “This Week’s Amazing Sky,” the Almanac’s blog on stargazing and astronomy. Wondering which bright objects you’re seeing in the night sky? Want to learn about a breathtaking sight coming up? Bob Berman, longtime and famous astronomer for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, will help bring alive the wonders of our universe. From the beautiful stars and planets to magical auroras and eclipses, we’ll cover everything under the Sun (and Moon)!

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Stunning views here in

Stunning views here in Seattle!

Saw the rare and exquisite

Saw the rare and exquisite triangular configuration of the cresent moon, Jupiter and bright Venus from Hanoi! A sight to behold!

Saw it here in Australia -

Saw it here in Australia - Queensland. Truly spectacular sight.....thanks for the heads up.

Bob, Thank you for this post.

Bob, Thank you for this post. I happened upon this conjunction while at work. It was a once in a life time sight for me. I immediately called my best friend, who lives in Montana, I live in North Carolina, so that she could experience it also. We are both Astrology amateurs. And weirdly enough he saw it in her sky at about the same time I did irregardless of our time change. Synchronecity? Thank you for bringing us the Farmer's Almanac. My Grandfather was a farmer and always had a copy to reference. Blessing to you and yours.

Saw it Kansas City, MO! I was

Saw it Kansas City, MO! I was really neat!!

This was am awesome event I

This was am awesome event I captured while waiting for the start of an Eric Church concert here in Marion Ill. It was beautiful tonight..

beautiful sight last night

beautiful sight last night in Farner TN

I saw the beautiful

I saw the beautiful constellation over Eddyville, Kentucky.

Thank you for posting that

Thank you for posting that map :) ..was rainey & cloudy in Orlando but I want to peep tonight. What a lovely Solstice - thank Bob!

Thank you ! I saw this

Thank you ! I saw this configuration here in Colorado Springs, CO and wondered what it was.

Many thanks! I just witnessed

Many thanks! I just witnessed the conjuction on a hilltop in the bluff country of the midwest with hundreds of fireflies dancing on the earth. One of the most spectacular sites I've ever witnessed! Thank you for bringing this phenomena to our attention Bob! I am so grateful!

We have been watching for 30

We have been watching for 30 minutes in Somerset, Kentucky USA!! Beautiful, thanks for the heads up today!

As we were heading out for a

As we were heading out for a walk LAST NIGHT (Fri) at 8:20P we noticed what you are talking about. Is is possible to see it two nights? I will go out in a few minutes to view it.

.....stood in my backyard for

.....stood in my backyard for an hour. It was beautifully mystic.

What a sign for my birthday

What a sign for my birthday today! Plus, it's in the constellation cancer, my cusp sign. Kinda cool.

We are in Whittier, NC. We

We are in Whittier, NC. We saw it and it was beautiful!

Just came in from walking my

Just came in from walking my dog (8:35 PM) and I was able to see this amazing conjunction. The sky here in TN is clear, no clouds, or stars are out yet only this amazing sight in the western sky. Thank you for putting this post out so we are able to enjoy such a wonderful sight in the sky :-)

I saw it beautifully in

I saw it beautifully in fayetteville north carolina. Took great pics as a thunderstorm cloud rook it outta sight. Beautiful.

I saw it beautifully in

I saw it beautifully in fayetteville north carolina. Took great pics as a thunderstorm cloud rook it outta sight. Beautiful.

Hi Julie, and to all you who

Hi Julie, and to all you who have seen it and posted here: Great that you caught it!

   Since this was so popular, I will be sure to alert you of all future events like this! Thanks for all your comments!

  -  Bob B

Albano Laziale,south of Rome,

Albano Laziale,south of Rome, Italy. It has been on for the last hour or so. Shining and beautiful!!! Took photos with long exposition, not great but good...

I am in Australia and i saw

I am in Australia and i saw this two hours ago as I was walking my dog. It took my breath away it is so beautiful. The sky is really really clear as we have had lots of rain lately and it was so crisp. Wish I could post my photos!

Hi I am just looking at the

Hi I am just looking at the conjunction now and I would like to know which one is Jupiter . Is it the very shining one ? Thanks so much

The brightest is Venus, the

The brightest is Venus, the other is Jupiter, and the moon is, duh, the moon!
B

its in order like moon,

its in order like moon, Jupiter and Venus. Jupiter is in the middle.
I love this! Glad I saw it!!!

The bright planet is Venus

The bright planet is Venus (it's closer and lookers larger), while the dim one is Jupiter (which is very large but so far away it appears small).

So which one is it: "It will

So which one is it:
"It will be visible the first few hours after sunset, no matter where you live."
OR
"If it’s clear Saturday evening, be sure to take a look any time between 9 and 10 PM. "???

Many people have problems

Many people have problems with obstructions -- trees, buildings, hills, etc. So this conjunction will be highest just as twilight is still present at 9 PM, and it will be 15 degrees lower by 10 PM, but now even more striking against the dark sky. It will remain above the horizon, though, for at least yet another two hours for those relayively few people with oceanically clear western horizons. Bottom line: 9 - 10 Pm to get the higher up, surer view, yet those with clear views will see it longer....

Playing along with the

Playing along with the fantasy of the sun going out: The moon would go dark minutes before Venus because the last reflected light from Venus would have a longer way to go than the last light from the sun which would go on a straight line to the earth. Though the moon and the earth aren't quite in the same place the detour is way less than the Venus detour.
I wonder why I bothered to write this. Talk about a waste of time...

No, it's great that you

No, it's great that you wrote. How many people have their minds in the stars? Please keep sharing your thoughts in the future, it's appreciated.

I've been looking forward to

I've been looking forward to this bob. From Ireland but on holiday in the south of France so I knew we'd have clear skies and wasn't disappointed. Sky not completely dark yet and I think it looks so much better in the deep twilight.

Is this east coast or west

Is this east coast or west coast time for the Saturday night showing on the 20th?

It will be visible the first

It will be visible the first few hours after sunset, no matter where you live.

Looking forward to this

Looking forward to this conjunction and also the close pairing of Jupiter and Venus on the 30th! Hoping for clear skies all over the country! Thank you Bob, for the Information and fun read!

My pleasure, Marybeth. Thanks

My pleasure, Marybeth. Thanks for reading...

   Best, Bob B

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