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Venus and Jupiter: Close Encounter in the Evening Sky

Andrew Fazekas, astronomer
March 9, 2012 — Jupiter and Venus have been putting on quite a show in the night sky, but the best is yet to come.

Jupiter and Venus
Jupiter and Venus

The two brightest planets visible in the night sky, Jupiter and Venus, have been putting on quite a show this past month as they have been slowly getting closer together in the western sky just after sunset.

But the best is yet to come as the two worlds reach what astronomers call conjunction - the closest they can appear in the sky together - from March 9 to 15.

The pair of planets will appear to be only 3 degrees apart in the western sky - equal to the width of your three middle fingers at arms' length. Their proximity in the sky is an illusion, of course, as Venus is 180 million km away from Earth and Jupiter is more than 600 million km father away.

After their mid March close encounter, the two planets will quickly move apart with Jupiter sinking closer to the horizon and Venus rising higher. 

This will be the tightest conjunction between Jupiter and Venus until autumn 2015. 

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