This Week's Amazing Sky: The Solstice Conjunction!

July 20, 2017
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.

About This Blog

Welcome to “This Week’s Amazing Sky,” the Almanac’s hub for everything 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