The Year's Best Conjunction is Sunday, March 18

Rare Sighting of Mercury, Venus, and the Moon

Mar 9, 2018
March 18, 2018 Sky Map

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Average: 4.6 (25 votes)

An unusual thing happens Sunday evening at 7:30 P.M.—a beautiful meeting of the three closest worlds to Earth. The Moon, the planet Venus, and the strange planet Mercury will all be in alignment. And you don’t need a telescope!

But you do need a clear view of the west. If you have a window that faces the sunset all the way down with no hills or trees or houses, that’s perfect. Otherwise go to such a place and be there at around 7:30— or, a half hour after your local sunset. And If you have binoculars, bring them.

Every town offers some location where you can see the low western horizon. Some mall parking lots offer such a clear western view. Just go there that evening.

If it’s clear on March 18th a half hour after sunset, which is probably around 7:30 PM, at a place with an absolutely unobstructed view toward where the sun has set, look low just above the horizon and you’ll see a hair-thin new moon. If you make a clenched fist and hold it out vertically at arms’ length, and place the bottom of the fist at eye level, the top of the fist shows you exactly where that crescent moon is located, meaning about 10 degrees high.

If you can’t see the thin Moon in the bright twilight, use your binoculars and sweep that area low in the West. As the sky darkens, there will come a moment when you’ll easily catch that moon and also notice that a brilliant star floats to its upper right. This is Venus returning after a one-year absence. And to the upper right of Venus is yet another star and this is orange Mercury. So if it’s clear Sunday evening you can be one of the relatively few who have ever glimpsed that odd, tiny, innermost world. And, as a bonus, you’ll observe the year’s most stunning conjunction.

See our full Sky Map for March 18, 2018.

About This Blog

Welcome to “This Week’s Amazing Sky,” the Almanac’s blog on stargazing and astronomy. 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, he covers everything under the Sun (and Moon)! Bob, the world’s mostly widely read astronomer, also has a new weekly podcast, Astounding Universe

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Moon, Venus, and Mercury.

Is it possible that Venus and Mercury are on top of each other? I easily found the moon, and I easily found Venus on top of it, but I couldn't find Mercury, however Venus was HUGE. It looked like it could be two planets and it looked orange/reddish.

Conjunction

I have been watching Venus and Mercury for two weeks, and I think this is one of the best appearances of Mercury that I have ever seen. I'm looking forward to seeing the moon with them.

Moon ;

Which is closer to the Earth Mercury or Venus? Which is closer to the sun; mercury or Venus?; will be a nice "starry night";

Sun-Mercury-Venus-Earth

Mercury is the innermost planet and always closer to the Sun. The next planet is Venus, and the "third rock from the Sun" is Earth. However, on March 18 (the date of Mr. Berman's alignment) Venus will be twice as far away from us as Mercury. That is because Venus will be on the far side of the Sun from our earthly viewpoint. For a great visual aid, go to heavens-above.com and click on "Solar system chart" (listed under Astronomy). Hope this helps!

The "Solar System chart"..;

Thanks Glenn; the Solar System chart made a lot of sense; I could see the conjunction and what you are writing; I have a good view for tonight; Conn.; a.;

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