What’s a conjunction?
Article and photos reprinted with permission from LeisurelyScientist.com
[Editor’s Note: Conjunctions between the moon and planets happen each month. Check our Visible planets and night sky guide article for details. Precisely speaking, in astronomy, a conjunction occurs when two sky objects have the same right ascension or the same ecliptic longitude, as observed from Earth.]
Conjunctions occur all the time, some spectacular, others routine. Most involve the moon. In astronomical terms, a conjunction involves the close approach of two or more solar system bodies or a close approach of a single solar system body with another object in the sky (like a star cluster or bright star).
It’s important to remember that these conjunctions are only from our perspective here on the planet Earth, the objects are never actually close together. An example is the conjunction depicted on this page, between the planet Venus and the Pleiades star cluster in the constellation Taurus. This conjunction took place on April 12, 2015.
The Pleiades actually lie about 440 light years behind Venus in the night sky, but from our perspective they appeared to be side-by-side.
The photo below was taken using a Canon 6D and 100mm lens, unguided and tripod mounted. There was a thin layer of clouds at the time the photo was taken, I think it adds a nice effect to the photo.
Bottom line: Illustrations of the astronomical term conjunction.