Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets in the sky, are headed for a close encounter tomorrow (April 30).
The planetary encounter, also known as a conjunction, brings Venus and Jupiter within just half a degree of each other, which is equal to the apparent width of the moon. This is the closest appearance of Venus and Jupiter since August 2016. The next time the two planets approach each other will be on March 1, 2023.
The closest approach of the planets will take place at 3 pm EDT (1900 GMT), according to EarthSky.org. However, sky watchers will have the best view of the conjunction beginning in the early morning, before the sun’s glare outshines the planets. The planets will appear close to each other for several days around April 30.
If you need binoculars or a telescope to see planets in the night sky, our guides to the best binoculars and best telescopes can help. Check out our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography to get ready to capture the next view of the planet.
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A planetary conjunction occurs when two or more planets appear close to each other in the sky. However, the proximity of the planets is simply an optical illusion, whereby the planets appear to be aligned with each other from our point of view on Earth. In reality, the planets of the solar system are very far from each other. Venus will be 90.3 million miles (145.4 million kilometers) from us, while Jupiter is nearly six times as far away, at 530 million miles (852.8 million kilometers).
At the conjunction, Venus will appear to the right and about 0.2 degrees south of Jupiter. The gas giant will recede steadily to the west over the next several days. The occurrence will be similar to the meeting of Mars and Saturn earlier in the month.
Venus and Jupiter will be best seen 30 to 45 minutes before sunrise on April 30 and May 1. Weather permitting, viewers will want to find an area with no obstructions, such as trees or tall buildings, to get a clear view of the horizon. to the southeast as the planets will be quite low in the sky.
Venus will be substantially brighter at magnitude -4.1, while Jupiter will shine at magnitude -2.1, which is about one-sixth as bright as Venus. Sky watchers can use binoculars or a telescope to get a good view of the planets’ close encounters.
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