Venus and Jupiter Putting on a Show in the Evening Sky

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

It rained all of last night here in Tucson so there are no meteor observations to report.

Though this is not related to the usual meteors, comets and asteroids that are the focus of this blog, the coolest show in the sky right now are the planets Venus and Jupiter. Both planets can be seen in the evening right after it gets dark. In fact, these two are the brightest “stars” in the sky.

Both planets are located low in the southwest sky. Venus is the brighter “star” and is currently lower in the sky than Jupiter. Over the next few evenings, watch as Jupiter appears to “fall” towards Venus. On December 1st, the planets will be closest together (~2 degrees or 4 Moon diameters). That evening a slim crescent Moon will also be located very close to the pair. Some parts of the world will be able to watch as the Moon passes directly between the 2 planets. In western Europe, the Moon will appear to pass in front of (or occult) Venus. For North American observers, the Moon will have already passed by the 2 planets (but still be located very close to them) on the evening of the 1st.

After the 1st, Jupiter will continue to start each evening lower in the sky until it is finally too close to the Sun to be seen has maps and pictures of the conjunction

Science@NASA story on the conjunction