On 23 Feb 2012 on the west coast of North America, what two bright stars aligned with the crescent moon?

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belarafon's profile pic

belarafon | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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During the month of February 2012, the planets Jupiter and Venus moved towards alignment with the Moon. Both Jupiter and Venus are bright in the night sky, and are often confused with stars; Venus is close to the Earth and so reflects sunlight brightly, while Jupiter is so massive that it shines brightly despite its distance from Earth. The planets were not quite in alignment on the 23rd, but could be observed in close alignment with the Moon and even with Mercury on the 25th and 26th. Mercury, because it tends to be low on the horizon, was not visible for very long. This planetary alignment is a rare event, and was observed and studied by many professional and amateur astronomers during that month.

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noahisboa's profile pic

noahisboa | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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You would be correct in that the two bright "stars" are actually planets: Venus and Jupiter.  Jupiter appears as an order of magnitude dimmer than Venus.  Venus appears to be below the cresent moon and Jupiter it opposite (above the cresent moon).

 

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