On June 30, two planetary objects are intended to meet: The planet entitled after the Goddess of love, Venus, and the planet entitled after the God of Thunder, Jupiter. On Planet Earth, they will seem so close together that they will look like a vivid "double star." These two planets have been steadily approaching each other for the last several weeks, move stealthily toward their closest point: 1/3° apart. That's close enough to be able to shield them with the tip of your pinky finger with an extended arm. In reality, they will be around 670 million kilometers (416 million miles) apart in space. The planets will also look like they're of a same size, but Jupiter is in fact the biggest planet in our solar system and Venus is even smaller than Earth. It is thanks to their relative distances that they seem to be of a related size when stared at from Earth.
|Night Skies: Moon, Venus, Jupiter In Tight Company. Taken in 2008. George M. Groutas/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)|
This occurrence will be observable to the naked eye in the Western sky. If you have binoculars accessible, or, even better, a telescope, you can have a look at the pair and with any luck even see Jupiter's four moons. This touching in the sky is known as a conjunction. A conjunction between Jupiter and Venus is not rare; the duo were last seen close together in the sky on August 18, 2014. By chance, if you miss this sighting and you missed the one in 2014, Venus and Jupiter have arranged another date for the morning of October 26, 2015. On this day, they will be detached by 1°. And if you still can't see this assembly, then next year, on August 27, the planets will come together once again. Here they will be parted by a spectacular 0.1°.