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.