See Jupiter and Mercury align in the sky and an asteroid flyby this weekend

The solar system’s largest and smallest planets will be in alignment this Friday.

In the morning, Mercury and Jupiter will be in conjunction and appear just above the horizon, according to NASA.
A conjunction is when two objects appear close together in the sky, but they can actually be millions of miles apart, according to Thomas Beatty, assistant astronomer at Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
    It’s similar to a merry-go-round, hy het gesê, with certain animals aligning as they circle around the center of the ride.
      To the naked eye, the planets will look like two bright stars, Beatty said.
        The best time to view the conjunction is in the early morning hours, but it might be difficult to see in the Northern Hemisphere, according to EarthSky. The views will be much better in the Southern Hemisphere due to Earth’s angle in the sky.

        Asteroid Apophis flyby

          An asteroid will make a flyby between Friday and Saturday, according to EarthSky. Apophis, an asteroid that spans over 1,312 voete, will be closest to the Earth — verby 10 million miles from our planet or 44 times further than the moon — op Maart 5 by 8:15 nm. EN.
          Unlike the conjunction, it will likely not be visible to the naked eye, Beatty said. Stargazers can view the asteroid flyby online for free through The Virtual Telescope Project in Rome.
          When the asteroid was first discovered in 2004, scientists believed the asteroid had a small chance of hitting Earth in 2029, Beatty said.
          There was a one in 10,000 chance the asteroid was going to collide with Earth, but given the damage it would do, “one in 10,000 is sort of unacceptable from our standpoint of humanity,” hy het gesê.
          Gelukkig, the Apophis flyby in 2013 allowed scientists to gather better measurements and the new numbers show the chances are extremely low, Beatty added.
          He said the large asteroid will still be passing close in 2029 — oor 24,000 miles from Earth, according to EarthSkyand it will be easier to see in the sky compared to the 2021 flyby.

          Meteor showers

          There is a bit of a wait until the next meteor shower, the popular Lyrids in April. The Lyrids will peak on April 22 and will be best seen in the Northern Hemispherebut the moon will be 68% vol, Volgens die Amerikaanse meteoorgenootskap.
          The Eta Aquariids follow soon after, peaking on May 5 when the moon is 38% vol. This shower is best seen in the southern tropics, but will still produce a medium shower for those north of the equator.
          The Milky Way is seen from the Glacier Point Trailside in Yosemite National Park, Kalifornië.

          The Delta Aquariids are also best seen from the southern tropics and will peak between July 28 en 29 when the moon is 74% vol.
          Interessant genoeg, another meteor shower peaks on the same nightthe Alpha Capricornids. Although this is a much weaker shower, it has been known to produce some bright fireballs during the peak. And it will be visible for those on either side of the equator.
          The Perseid meteor shower, the most popular of the year, will peak between August 11 en 12 in the Northern Hemisphere when the moon is only 13% vol.
          Here is the meteor shower schedule for the rest of the year, Volgens EarthSky’s meteor shower outlook.
          • Oktober 8: Draconids
          • Oktober 21: Orionids
          • November 4 aan 5: South Taurids
          • November 11 aan 12: North Taurids
          • November 17: Leonids
          • Desember 13 aan 14: Geminids
          • Desember 22: Ursids

          Solar and lunar eclipses

          Hierdie jaar, there will be two eclipses of the sun and two eclipses of the moonand three of these will be visible for some in North America, Volgens The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
          A total eclipse of the moon will occur on May 26, best visible to those in western North America and Hawaii from 4:46 am. ET to 9:51 am. EN.
          An annular eclipse of the sun will happen on June 10, visible in northern and northeastern North America from 4:12 am. ET to 9:11 am. EN. The sun won’t be fully blocked by the moon, so be sure to wear eclipse glasses to safely view this event.
          November 19 will see a partial eclipse of the moon, and skywatchers in North America and Hawaii can view it between 1 am. ET en 7:06 am. EN.
          And the year ends with a total eclipse of the sun on December 4. It won’t be seen in North America, but those in the Falkland Islands, the southern tip of Africa, Antarctica and southeastern Australia will be able to spot it.

          Visible planets

          Skywatchers will have multiple opportunities to spot the planets in our sky during certain mornings and evenings throughout 2021, Volgens die Farmer’s Almanac planetary guide.
          It’s possible to see most of these with the naked eye, with the exception of distant Neptune, but binoculars or a telescope will provide the best view.
          Mercury will look like a bright star in the morning sky from February 28 to March 20, Junie 27 to July 16, and October 18 to November 1. It will shine in the night sky from May 3 tot Mei 24, Augustus 31 to September 21 en November 29 to December 31.
          Venus, our closest neighbor in the solar system, will appear in the western sky at dusk on the evenings of May 24 to December 31. It’s the second brightest object in our sky after the moon.
          Mars makes its reddish appearance in the morning sky between November 24 en Desember 31 and will be visible in the evening sky between January 1 and August 22.
          Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, is the third brightest object in our sky. It will be on display in the morning sky between February 17 and August 19. Look for it in the evenings of August 20 to December 31 — but it will be at its brightest from August 8 to September 2.
          Saturn’s rings are only visible through a telescope, but the planet itself can still be seen with the naked eye on the mornings of February 10 to August 1 and the evenings of August 2 to December 31. It will be at its brightest between August 1 aan 4.
            Binoculars or a telescope will help you spot the greenish glow of Uranus on the mornings of May 16 to November 3 and the evenings of January 1 to April 12 en November 4 to December 31 — but at its brightest between August 28 to December 31.
            And our most distant neighbor in the solar system, Neptune will be visible through a telescope on the mornings of March 27 to September 13 and the evenings of September 14 to December 31. It will be at its brightest between July 19 en November 8.

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