Venus And Jupiter Are About To Meet In The Sky For The Only Time This Year

Venus And Jupiter Are About To Meet In The Sky For The Only Time This Year

If you have been looking west at dusk over the last few days you may have spotted two bright lights in the evening sky. Those are not stars, but planets: Venus and Jupiter. The two celestial bodies are going to be in conjunction over the next few days, appearing their closest on Wednesday, March 1.

A conjunction happens when two celestial objects appear close together in the night sky despite being separated by hundreds of millions of kilometers in real life. In some cases, objects can look so close that they appear to combine into one much brighter object as a result. Venus and Jupiter will be less than a degree apart but not quite close enough to appear as a single bright body.

One degree is roughly the size of your pinky finger at arm’s length. Each degree is divided into 60 arcminutes. On March 1, the two planets will be 39 arcminutes apart and on March 2 they will be 45 arcminutes apart. They will then continue to separate, with Venus rising in the western sky and Jupiter disappearing behind the Sun, before appearing again before dawn in late April.

Conjunctions are not super rare and between Jupiter and Venus, it usually happens once roughly every 13 months. But if you don’t want to miss this one make sure to have a clear view of the western sky from just before sunset onward. As usual, if you don’t have good weather, the Virtual Telescope Project is running a livestream of the event.  

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