An Alignment of Planets in the Sunset Sky
The brightest planets in the solar system are lining up in the evening sky, and you can see the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter even before the sky fades completely black. Wrap up warm, head outside and look west!
The duo has been steadily moving towards each other since late February, however on the nights of 12th and 13th March they reach their closest approach to only 3 degrees separation. The exact date of the official conjunction is March 15th as this is the date when these two worlds have the same right ascension in the Earth's sky.
The next conjunction between Venus and Jupiter won't happen until May 28th, 2013. Although Venus and Jupiter will be closer during that conjunction, they won't be as spectacular as they are this month because next time the two planets will set around one hour after the sun.
If you have binoculars, then be sure to have a good look at Jupiter - you should be able to see four of its moons (Ganymede, Callistio, Io and Europa).
Don't miss this opportunity for some great views of this beautiful conjunction!
These photos were taken by me on the evening of 12th March 2012 with a Canon 350d DSLR, Canon 70-300mm lens and tripod. You don't need a telescope to see the moons of Jupiter, just a pair of binoculars! What are you waiting for?
Last updated on: Tuesday 16th January 2018