Wandering through the realms of the cosmos, pondering its huge vastness

Closest Encounter of Venus and Jupiter in 2012

If you’ve been looking west after sunset recently you can’t have failed to see Venus blazing there so bright, outshining everything else in the sky. To Venus’ upper left is another bright” star”, which is actually another planet, Jupiter.

Jupiter and Venus - 8 degrees apart. Image captured 5 March 2012 at 6:45 pm.

These two bright planets visible in the night sky 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.

Next week, Venus and Jupiter will be MUCH closer than they are now.🙂

On March 15, an impressive celestial show at twilight will surprise sky observers as these two planets reach what astronomers call conjunction – the closest they can appear in the sky together.

Getting closer - 5 degrees apart. Image taken 9 March 2012 at 6:24 pm.

The pair of planets will appear to be only 3 degrees apart in the western sky. That is 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 farther away.

After their mid March close encounter, the two planets will quickly go pass each other – Jupiter dropping down towards the horizon, getting closer to the Sun, while Venus moves higher up in the sky, moving away from the Sun, and brightening as it does so.

The next Venus-Jupiter conjunction after this one falls on May 28, 2013.

# # #

Beauty Without Borders: Conjunction of Glory

13 – 15 March 2012

The Jupiter-Venus conjunction on March 15 will be quite a spectacle, as both planets are very bright. This will be a fantastic visual and photographic opportunity, as it’s not often that you get the brightest planets in our Solar System so close together.

In line with this, Astronomers Without Borders (AWB), in collaboration with Amateur Astronomers Association of Kurdistan & Opportunity Astronomical Observatory (Iraq), presents “Beauty without Borders: Conjunction of Glory”.

All the amateur/professional groups out there are invited to participate and enjoy the beautiful views.

Participate by hold an observing night with your local astronomy group or do a backyard astronomy session with your family and friend. Take your scope to the street for a “guerilla-astronomy” session.

Join the conversation on Twitter @awb_org using #VenusJupiter with other groups around the world. Post your images on our Flickr or Facebook page.

Chat by NASA on 25 March 2012

Join and share with your friends!

Clear skies!

# # #

Here is a video from Newsy.com to help you know more about this event: http://www.newsy.com/videos/venus-and-jupiter-set-for-cosmic-meetup/

6 responses

  1. Julia Novak

    Hello Raven-
    I’m a fiction writer looking for more information about the beautiful Venus/Jupiter pairing i’ve been seeing. Does this happen annually? If so, is it to the same degree as now? Thank you for your help.

    March 14, 2012 at 12:54 am

    • Hi Julia,

      Conjunctions such as the Venus-Jupiter conjunctions normally occur every 13 months. In fact, the next Venus-Jupiter conjunction after this one falls on May 28, 2013 but it will be less spectacular as the planets will set about an hour after sunset. This one, however is expected to be the best conjunction for those living in the Northern Hemisphere to view for years to come as Jupiter and Venus will be visible for a longer period of time in the evening sky — about four hours after sunset.

      According to Space.com, the same conjunction will happen again in 2036.

      March 15, 2012 at 1:01 am

  2. Raven,

    I wanted to express how much I enjoyed your blog post on March 11, 2012, titled “Closest Encounter of Venus and Jupiter in 2012”. I loved your photography capturing the galactic group and you definitely inspired me to capture the beautiful view on the following nights.

    Did you know this is also a prime time to catch Jupiter’s four largest moons? The conjunction of both planets, while not exceptionally rare, Venus will produce eight times the average galactic glow.

    I also understand you are extremely interested in astronomy and science and I was wondering if you had any special plans for the sighting this week.

    I wanted to share with you a video about the Jupiter and Venus conjunction that I think you will find interesting and supplemental to your coverage of this out of this world phenomenon. I hope you enjoy it, as I included the link below.

    “Venus and Jupiter Set for Cosmic Meet Up”


    I hope you will embed this video into your blog and maybe in the future, we could swap blog roll links and widgets.

    The clip does a great job of concisely sourcing and compiling news reports to emphasize the scope and context the content being reported on. Newsy synthesizes and analyzes news into neutral comprehensive video clips showing a variety of opinions on the story.

    Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I look forward to working with you in the future,

    Lyndsey Garza
    Community for Newsy
    Twitter: @newsyvideos

    March 13, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    • Hi Lyndsey,

      Thank you for such nice compliments.

      The clouds weren’t much cooperative over my place. The skies were heavily overcast a while ago and I didn’t catch a glimpse of the conjunction. Tomorrow I will try my luck again.

      By the way, I’ve already appended the link to the video from Newsy.com to the blog entry.

      Best regards,

      March 15, 2012 at 1:22 am

  3. Very nice photos – nicely done🙂

    March 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm

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