The three brightest lights in the sky are not stars, but planets—Mother Earth’s very own satellite, the moon, plus Venus and Jupiter—and over the next week they will converge on one another until they are almost touching.
At which point Moon, ever the tantalizing trickster, will edge away, leaving Venus and Jupiter to their own devices. And the latter two will continue the show through mid-March, according to NASA.
The formation starts taking shape this weekend. On the 16th (the “tonight” referred to in the below video), the moon was new and thus invisible, but Venus and Jupiter were starting their shenanigans.
The action starts around sunset, when Venus and Jupiter blaze against the periwinkle sky. This view will get more and more compelling as the week wears on, because the two are converging, NASA said, their distance narrowing closer than the width of an outstretched palm and then to less than that of two fingertips.
“Their combined beauty grows each night as the distance between them shrinks,” NASA said in a February 17 statement.
This show culminates on Saturday February 25 and 26 when the newly born crescent moon reveals itself to create a “slender heavenly triangle” with Venus and Jupiter, the space agency said, and again a day later on the 26th.
“This arrangement will be visible all around the world, from city and countryside alike,” NASA said. “The Moon, Venus and Jupiter are the brightest objects in the night sky; together they can shine through urban lights, fog, and even some clouds.”
And that’s not all.
“After hopping from Venus to Jupiter in late February, the Moon exits stage left, but the show is far from over,” NASA said. Venus and Jupiter will edge closer and closer together through mid-March until they become “a spectacular double beacon in the sunset sky,” NASA said.
See the video below for an illustrated explanation of this astronomical phenomena as well as an optometrist’s insight on why it matters so much to our eyes.