A story is circulating online that the Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon will appear to align, forming a celestial "smiley face" that will look down on a troubled Earth on May 16. But will there really be such a rare event on the night sky on the night of May 16?
The month of May has brought so many celestial events in the past days, such as the Comet Atlas and Swana, along with the Eta Aquariid that lit up the sky showing picturesque hues and brightness. Now, it is revealed that on the night of May 16, another astronomical event will baffle the world, according to a tweet by BBC Radio Tees.
#HeadlineChallenge: The world needs reasons to smile - and the solar system is about to give us a helping hand. On May 16, a crescent moon, beneath Venus & Jupiter, will form a smiley face in the sky...@PeteBarronMedia goes with PUT ON A HAPPY SPACE. pic.twitter.com/G6Tmz0Lx34 — BBC Radio Tees (@BBCTees) March 30, 2020
However, many experts have debunked this report calling it "fake news." According to them, Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon will be at entirely different parts of the night sky on the said date, so it is impossible to see a smiley form up in the sky.
"Quite a rare astronomical phenomenon"
On March 30, the BBC Radio Tees posted on their Twitter account that the world will be seeing a crescent beneath the Venus and Jupiter that will form a smiley face in the sky.
According to some reports, this rare astronomical phenomenon is called a conjunction that happened 12 years ago in 2008; but it was first observed in 2007 in the Philippines.
RMG explained that 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." The conjunction between the three celestial bodies on May 16 will be a notable one not because it is rare, but because of the shape, it will form a smiley face.
Moreover, it is also rare for Jupiter to align so close to the moon compared to Venus that regularly does once a month. So, when Jupiter does, together with Venus, the two planets will look like the eyes while the crescent moon is the big mouth with a delightful smile.
However, some people claim that the event more than a decade ago did not really happened and will also not occur this year on May 16.
No, there will not be 'Smiley Face' in the night sky on May 16
Jamie Carter, a senior contributor to Forbes Media and an experienced journalist on science, technology, and travel, said that this rare astronomical phenomenon is "fake news." According to him, Venus, Jupiter, and the moon will be at different parts of the night sky on May 16, making it impossible to see a smiley face in the sky.
Furthermore, he said that the event did not happen in 2008, as claimed. The story seemed to have started from a news outlet in the Philippines way back in 2010, about a very common occurrence of Moon passing through Venus.
A decade later, it was shared by BBC Radio Tees in the U.K., and unfortunately, it was also picked up by an astrophotography website. But anyone can see that it is not real, said Carter.
In fact, a sky chart showed an after sunset photo on May 16 for mid-northern latitudes that the Venus is close to the Mercury showing no Moon above the horizon. Moreover, another sky chart also shows just before sunrise on May 17 for mid-northern latitudes, a waning gibbous Moon has just risen and is shining close to Mars, with Saturn and Jupiter further to the southeast.
He added that the sideways smile would be there, but there will not be any eyes. Fortunately, the Earth will still see something beautiful in the sky as rare conjunction of Venus and Mars will happen on May 22.