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Venus dazzles at dusk and closes in on Neptune

13 Jan 2020, 20:06 UTC
Venus dazzles at dusk and closes in on Neptune
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This looping animation depicts a southwesterly view one hour after sunset from 13–31 January 2020 at two-day intervals as seen from the heart of the UK. At magnitude -4.0 or slightly brighter, dazzling Venus exceeds the brightness of distant planetary sibling Neptune 63,000 fold! Venus passes just 4 arcminutes (one-fifteenth of a degree) south of Neptune at 8pm GMT on Monday, 27 January 2020, so both planets will fit in the same high-power telescope view from 6pm GMT until they set. Note magnitude +4.2 naked-eye star Phi (φ) Aquarii that lies within 0.9° east of magnitude +7.9 Neptune throughout the period. AN animation by Ade Ashford.Even casual skywatchers cannot fail to notice brightest planet Venus currently hanging like a lantern above the southwest horizon at nautical dusk, around 90 minutes after sunset for the centre of the British Isles. On 11 January, Venus crossed the constellation border into Aquarius where it resides for the remainder of the month. Between now and the beginning of February, observers can also see Venus close the gap on its most distant planetary sibling, Neptune, until the pair reach a close conjunction on 27 January 2020.Venus passes one-twentieth of a degree south of Neptune at ...

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