April 25, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Planets converging over Kansas, and here’s when

Planets converging over Kansas, and here’s when

TOPEKA (KSNT) – A rare planetary conjunction so close you won’t have to leave your backyard to see it.

KSNT 27 News Stormtrack Meteorologist Ryan Matush spoke with Brenda Culbertson, NASA’s Solar System Ambassador, about this intriguing event. Now until March 2, the planets Jupiter and Venus will enter a conjunction that will be visible as the two planets appear to move closer together. While the planets may look close, they are actually more than six billion miles apart.

“This event is a beautiful sight and can be easily photographed because the planets are so bright,” Culbertson said. “All you need is a clear western horizon and a clear evening to see the conjunction.”

A conjunction is described as a celestial event in which two planets, a planet and the moon, or a planet and a star appear near the night sky, According to the NASA website. Although the conjunctions don’t have much astronomical significance, it’s nice to show them.

Culbertson encourages those who want to see the conjunction to simply walk outside at sunset and look for a pair of planets above the western horizon. It is essential to see the sky clearly and cloud cover may obscure the event. The best night to observe convergence is March 1. No special equipment is needed for pairing viewing although binoculars will provide a better view.

“This is a very photogenic conjunction of the planets, and many people have already taken pictures of the progression,” Culberson said.

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Those who want a more organized pairing event can go to an official viewing venue at Banner Creek Science Center and Observatory on Wednesday, March 1 starting at 6:30 p.m. and can be found at 22275 North Rd. in Holton. Astronomers, including Culbertson, will also be available to answer questions during the event.