A stunning near full-moon will be closely paired with a very bright Jupiter tonight when it emerges from the eastern horizon.
Usually, a large moon over the night skies erases any clear views of the stars and planets near the moon, but given Jupiter’s enormous size it will still be visible. The gassy planet is 318 times larger than Earth and two and a half times larger than all of the solar system’s planets combined.
Beginning on early Tuesday evening, Jupiter will be about two degrees away from the moon, on its top left. The moon is scheduled to rise at 7:06 p.m. in Vancouver, and Jupiter will be visible shortly after as a bright dot early in the evening.
Partially cloudy skies are in this evening’s forecast, but even if you miss tonight’s event there will be another chance in two weeks: Jupiter and the moon will be paired again on March 21 – just two days before another full moon event, which means the moon will also be near-full for the second event.
If you are only looking for Jupiter, the planet will return to Metro Vancouver’s night skies over the next few days. It was also clearly visible on Monday night, albeit far apart from the moon.
On Friday night and into the early morning hours of Saturday, both Mars and Jupiter will be aligned with the constellation Virgo and Spica, the constellation’s brightest star.
These events follow a month-long period when five planets were bright enough to see at the same time with the naked eye.
If you are able to capture a photo of the planets, share it with Vancity Buzz on Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtag #VancityBuzz.
Photos of Monday night and early Tuesday morning’s sightings of Jupiter and the full moon over Metro Vancouver’s skies: