The planets are seriously showboating at the moment.
Throughout March, we caught rare sightings of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn getting up close and personal. We’re wondering if maybe they just wanted us Earthlings to feel better, what with the global pandemic and all. (Featured image: Jeremy Thomas, Unsplash)
And now, Venus has decided to get in on the act in April. Perhaps it’s jealous of the attention its noisy neighbour Earth is giving to its other neighbour, Mars — NASA has been cosying up to Mars and releasing cheeky photos of it, after all.
Whatever the reason, Venus has decided to show its face tonight (3 April). The planet—which is the second-closest to the sun—is due to appear inside the Pleiades, or “Seven Sisters” star cluster. It will be the first time in eight years it has appeared here. Later this month, it will also be at its brightest point in the sky.
If you want to view it, you’ll have to look to the western point of the sky right after sunset. A telescope or binoculars will allow for the best view, as it will be clearer to see it sat in the cluster. Without it, you should get a good view of Venus, but the planet’s glare may block out the rest of the cluster.
Should you miss it tonight, don’t fret. Venus in the Pleiades should also be visible tomorrow (4 April). But beyond that, this event usually happens approximately once every eight years. Blink and you’ll miss it.