March 13, 2012

Conjunction Of Jupiter And Venus Impresses Skywatchers

If you have noticed an unusual conjunction of lights in the night sky lately, you are not seeing alien craft coming to whisk you away, you are seeing a conjunction of Venus and Jupiter and it makes for an amazing view in the heavens.

The two planets are 450 million miles apart in space, but because they are aligned in the same direction from Earth they are appearing to be almost within touching distance of each other, reports The Telegraph.

They will appear very bright and relatively close over for the next few weeks, and if you live in a rural area where there is less light pollution, you will get the full benefit of the show.

Despite being much smaller, Venus appears brighter because of its relative closeness to Earth and because it gets more intense sunlight than the larger Jupiter.

After March 14, the gas giant Jupiter will appear to drop lower towards the horizon until it is eventually invisible after sunset by mid-April. However in July, early-risers will be treated to a similar spectacle, in the eastern sky at daybreak.

Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society, explained, “although conjunctions are not that rare, the interest in this one is a result of how spectacular it is.”

℠´Both planets are very bright in the night sky. If you know where to look, you can even see Venus in the day. The two being so close together will be beautiful. Last night they looked like two beacons.

℠´It is also interesting for people because it just happens to be something which you can see for yourself. In the northern hemisphere we should look for them in the south west this evening. The pair will appear to move to the west over the course of the night.

℠´While the pair will drift apart after a couple of days, Jupiter will be visible for at least another two weeks.´´


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