Mars, Venus, and the Moon Conjunction
April 21, 2023
Prepare for a picturesque conjunction containing Mars, Venus, and a Waxing Crescent Moon. Just after sunset on the evening of May 23, 2023, indulge in viewing this trio of favorite Solar System objects. Since the Moon will be just four days old, it won’t overpower the planets; Mars will be shining at magnitude 1.5, while Venus lights up the night at magnitude -4.2. Try scanning along the delicate Crescent Moon’s terminator (the line where day meets night on the lunar surface) for craters and other surface features.
The three objects in this conjunction will be too far apart to view all of them at once within the field of view of your telescope. However, they should be well within the field of view of a pair of binoculars or your smartphone camera. Use a tripod, if you have one, to help stabilize your view. Otherwise, steady yourself against a table, wall, car hood or trunk. Prop up your arms to minimize shaking.
Any optical aide you have on hand will add a boost in power and enhance your experience. But this conjunction also makes a beautiful sight with simply the naked eye. So don’t let your equipment (or lack thereof) keep you from stepping outside to stargaze!
If you are a beginner and need help locating the conjunction, a planetarium app for your smartphone will point the way. Best of luck and clear skies!