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Planets will form a smiley face on May 16th

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Planets will form a smiley face on May 16th

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Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon will all be lining up to form a smiley face in the night sky.

This phenomenon is a rare appearance called conjunction. The rarity of the phenomenon makes you want to not miss it. Last time the moon and the two planets aligned in such a form were in December 2008 which is 12 years ago. 

Space.com shares a good definition of the occultation, or alignment of the planets, stating that it happens when one object passes in front of another from an observer’s perspective. A simple example is a solar eclipse. From a certain area on Earth, the Moon passes in front of the sun and either partially or totally blocks the light. So, we can say that the sun is eclipsed or occulted.”

This is not an Occulation

Occultations have happened in the past like Venus passing in front of Jupiter in 1818. The same phenomenon will most likely occur again in 2065.

Despite the similarities, this occurrence that will happen on May 16th is not an occultation. Instead, it’s a phenomenon called conjunction and RMG explains its definition 

“In astronomy, a conjunction occurs when any two astronomical objects (such as asteroids, Moons, planets, and stars) appear to be close together in the sky, as observed from Earth.”

In 2008, Australia saw the smiley face with Jupiter being the right, while Venus was the left eye of the smiley face. Australians were able to see it at night time around 8-11 pm. Unfortunately, the rest of the world (US and European countries) did not see this occurrence at that time. The phenomenon will occur again in the skies of Australia in 2036.

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