UNC-TV Science: Moon and Venus

UNC-TV Science: February 25, 2014
Moon and Venus to Appear Close to Each Other

If you’re like me, then getting out the door before dawn is really really REALLY not your thing. But if you have to do it on February 26, 2014, an interesting astronomical event might make it easier. Venus and the moon will appear very close to each other in the predawn sky.

As the moon rotates around Earth every month, it passes by all the planets. Astronomers at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) say what makes February 26th special is how close the two will be to each other. From our point of view, Venus will be less than the moon’s diameter south of the moon.

Look to the southeast in the 60-90 minutes before dawn and you’ll see the crescent moon and what looks like a very bright star just to its south. That “bright star” is actually the planet Venus reflecting light back from the sun.

So if you have to be up early on February 26th, grab a coffee and watch two objects 45 million miles apart look like they’re almost touching.

- Daniel Lane

Daniel Lane covers science, medicine and the environment as a reporter/writer. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in medical and science journalism at UNC - Chapel Hill.