Venus and Jupiter Conjunction

August 23, 2016

If the skies cooperate we will be in for a rare display this Friday and Saturday evenings.  Jupiter and Venus will be making their closest (apparent) approach to each other, it will be the closest approach until 2065!

The two planets will appear about 0.1 degrees apart.  For scale the full moon is 1/2 a degree.  Your thumb at arms length is approximately 1 degree.
venus-jupiter 6 degrees 8-22-16In this photo the planets are separated by about 6 degrees.

To see this beautiful alignment you’ll need to find a spot with a very low western horizon.  About 30 minutes after sunset you’ll be able to spot Venus in the west.  It will be the brightest “star” you’ll see and will be about 5 degrees above the horizon. On Friday they will be separated by about 1 degree.  Saturday the separation will be less than 1/2 a degree. In fact, they may be so close that you might need binoculars to tell them apart.

If you can’t wait till the weekend there is another gorgeous celestial lineup that will be at its best tonight (Tuesday 8/23.)  Wait until about an hour after sunset and look in the South-SouthWestern sky and you’ll see three “stars” (the bottom two will be reddish in color) in a straight line.  The bottom star is the only true star in the alignment.  It is the brightest star in the constellation of Scorpius, Antares.  The brightest of the three is Mars and the fainter (top most) point of light is Saturn.

mars-saturn 8-22-16

This is how it looked Monday night.

Click this link for more detailed information.  Good luck and clear skies!

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