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Watch the Moon, Mars, and Venus form a celestial conga line on July 12

Early on the evening of Monday, 12 July, a thin crescent Moon will be seen low on the horizon, just after sunset. Just half a degree below and to the right of our planetary companion, Venus and Mars — the two closest planets to Earth, will shine in the twilight.

This is a perfect time for families to venture outside, viewing the wonders of the night sky.

“I’m NOT a Star” — Venus

Venus is often called the morning star, or evening star (depending on when the planet rises and sets), due to the fact it is seen near the Sun — in the east at dawn, and west at sunset.

The evening of 12 July is a perfect example of Venus as the evening star.

This planet, roughly the size and mass of the Earth, is home to a hellish landscape of scorching temperatures, a poisonous atmosphere, and sulfuric acid rain.
“In June, NASA announced that two new space missions would be heading to Venus beginning later in the decade. VERITAS and DAVINCI+ will investigate the planet’s surface and atmosphere, returning incredible images, maps, and other data, likely rewriting our understanding of how Earth’s sister planet became so inhospitable, along with how it might still be active today. They’ll be joined by the European spacecraft EnVision, for what’s sure to be an exciting new chapter in solar system exploration,” NASA describes.

“Better Red than Dead — Eat THAT, Pluto!” — Mars

Credit: The Cosmic Companion