Venus-Jupiter Conjunction

By: Susie77 , 6:41 PM GMT on August 16, 2014

Jupiter and Venus to Align Early Monday Morning

August 16, 2014 | by Stephen Luntz

Photo credit:

FraKctured. Venus and Jupiter in 2008. They'll get much closer this time.

If you can drag yourself from your bed half an hour before dawn on
Monday morning you should be in for a treat (weather permitting).
Jupiter and Venus will be at their closest for 14 years, making a truly
magnificent sight.

Conjunctions of planets (when they appear to approach each other in
the sky) come along quite often, but as the two brightest astronomical
objects after the Sun and Moon, close encounters of Venus and Jupiter
are special. 

Not all of such events are equal however. On some occasions the two
planets never get closer than 6° – about half the width of a fist if you
hold your hand at full stretch. On other occasions the pair might
appear close in the sky, but are overwhelmed by the sun. Since Venus
never gets more than 48° from the sun in the sky, this happens much more
frequently than for approaches of planets further out from us such as
Jupiter and Mars.

This time however, the two planets will be just 0.2° apart at their
closest, line of sight disguising the fact that their true distance is
actually more than 700 million kilometers. However, where some
conjunctions provide multiple opportunities to see two planets close to
each other, this one is an exception. From our perspective the two are
moving in opposite directions, so if you miss them on Monday they'll
separate very fast thereafter.

With the naked eye the two will look so close and bright that an outbreak of UFO reports is anticipated. However, for a real feast for the eyes binoculars or a small telescope are recommended.

The close approach will take place against a backdrop of M44, also
known as the Beehive Cluster, one of the most famous open clusters in
the sky and a treat with binoculars on its own. At the moment the
Beehive is so close to the sun that the stars won't be at their
brightest, but with the planetary pair at their edge the effect should
be breathtaking.

Two Micron All Sky Survey. Jupiter and Venus will appear just outside the open cluster known as the Beehive Nebula, pictured.

A home telescope on low magnification will show both planets in the same field of view, along with Jupiter's Moons.

Clouds aside, a close conjunction will be visible throughout the
world, other than Antarctica, but only those in Europe or Africa will
get to see them at their very closest.

. How the pair will appear relative to M44 in binoculars

A good view east is required, as the pair will only be about 10°
above the horizon as the sky starts to lighten. The will appear almost directly below Castor and Pollux, and roughly in line with Procyon.
Read more at align-early-monday-morning#u3Y8ft8PqQjwWpWD.99

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Sometimes I complain about the earthly weather, but mostly I like to post about astronomy and space events. Hope you enjoy the articles.

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