How to See Venus and the Moon Share a ‘Kiss’ in a Rare Astronomical Event This Week

Mike Hewitt/iStock via Getty Images
Mike Hewitt/iStock via Getty Images

Venus is visible in the evening or morning sky for most of the year, but this Thursday, the second planet from the sun won't be alone in its spot above the horizon. As Travel + Leisure reports, Venus, also known as the "evening star," will appear right next to a crescent moon following the sunset on February 27, resulting in a rare celestial "kiss."

Why will Venus be close to the moon?

Venus is often among the first "stars" to become visible at twilight (though it's really a planet), and it's the brightest object in the night sky aside from the moon. Between January 1 and May 24, it shines brightly above the western horizon. For a few weeks in early May and late June, Venus is washed out by the light of the sun, and from June 13 to December 31, it's easiest to see in the eastern sky around sunrise.

This week, Venus will be in the perfect position to share a "kiss" with the night's brightest object. All the planets, including Venus, appear to traverse the same path across the night sky called the ecliptic. The moon follows a similar trajectory, and on some nights, the celestial body seems to come very close to the planets that also occupy the plane. This effect is just an illusion; while they will appear to be nearly touching on Thursday, the moon will actually be 249,892 miles from Earth on February 27, while Venus will be 84 million miles away.

The Moon just entered its "new" phase on Sunday, and it will only be partially illuminated by the time it meets up with Venus. The waxing crescent moon will rise in the perfect position in the western sky on Thursday to create a joint spectacle with our planetary neighbor.

When to see Venus and the moon "kiss"

The kiss between the moon and Venus can be spotted in the hours after sunset on Thursday, February 27. When you notice it getting dark, head outside and look to the southwest horizon if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. That will give you your best chance at catching the special event. If you miss it this week, you won't have to wait long for your next opportunity to see the Moon kiss Venus: The two bodies will return to a similar position on March 28, 2020.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

This Smart Accessory Converts Your Instant Pot Into an Air Fryer

Amazon
Amazon

If you can make a recipe in a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or rice cooker, you can likely adapt it for an Instant Pot. Now, this all-in-one cooker can be converted into an air fryer with one handy accessory.

This Instant Pot air fryer lid—currently available on Amazon for $80—adds six new cooking functions to your 6-quart Instant Pot. You can select the air fry setting to get food hot and crispy fast, using as little as 2 tablespoons of oil. Other options include roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, and reheat.

Many dishes you would prepare in the oven or on the stovetop can be made in your Instant Pot when you switch out the lids. Chicken wings, French fries, and onion rings are just a few of the possibilities mentioned in the product description. And if you're used to frying being a hot, arduous process, this lid works without consuming a ton of energy or heating up your kitchen.

The lid comes with a multi-level air fry basket, a broiling and dehydrating tray, and a protective pad and storage cover. Check it out on Amazon.

For more clever ways to use your Instant Pot, take a look at these recipes.

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Look Up! June’s Strawberry Moon Will Light Up Skies Friday Night

Nathaniel Taylor/iStock via Getty Images
Nathaniel Taylor/iStock via Getty Images

If you're looking for an outdoor activity to ring in the summer months, look up at the sky this Friday. As USA Today reports, a strawberry moon—a.k.a. June's full moon—will reach peak visibility the afternoon of June 5 and light up skies throughout the night. Here's everything you need to know to catch the celestial event.

Why Is It Called a Strawberry Moon?

Each month's full moon has a special name that's tied to the time of year when it appears. June is the start of strawberry-picking season in parts of North America, which has earned it the sweet nickname among some Native American tribes. June's full moon is also known as the honey moon or the full rose moon in Europe.

Some years the strawberry moon marks the first full moon of summer, but the summer solstice will still be a couple of weeks off when this one shows up. In some parts of the country, warmer weather has already arrived, which makes the strawberry moon a great excuse to kick off your summer sky-gazing season early.

When to Watch the Strawberry Moon

In 2020, the strawberry moon will reach its fullest state at 3:12 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 5. If you're in North America, the moon won't be visible until later in the evening, but it will still look full and bright even after it's passed its peak. At moonrise, which occurs roughly around 8:30 p.m. along the East Coast tonight, the moon will emerge in the east and continue to hug the horizon as it moves through the night sky.

The strawberry moon isn't pink as its name suggests, but it is the most colorful moon of the lunar calendar. Because it never rises too far above the horizon, its light gets filtered by more of the atmosphere, making it look orange or yellow from your backyard.

[h/t USA Today]