Jupiter and Venus in closest encounter for 50 years
TWO planets are expected to appear on the horizon 'almost kissing' just after the sun sets tomorrow and it will be the last time these two planets are that close for another 49 years.
Many astronomy websites are talking about the event that most people will be able to see with the naked eye and others with binoculars.
According to Space.com the two brightest planets in the night sky, Venus and Jupiter, will dance together on Saturday, in their closest encounter until 2065.
The Mudgee Observatory's website (Mudgee is in New South Wales) described the view as Venus and Jupiter being less than half a degree apart with Mercury five degrees to the south of the pair.
"The two planets will lie only 5 degrees above the western horizon about 30 minutes after sunset in bright twilight; brighter Venus will shine just above Jupiter," Space.com states.
"You can judge how high above the horizon 5 degrees is by making a fist and holding it out at arm's length. Place the bottom of your fist on the horizon, and the top part is 10 degrees. So the two planets will be only half that width above the western horizon a half hour after sundown. If the sky is hazy, you might also want to scan the horizon with binoculars to help you pick them out. Be sure to take a look - it will take until 2065 to catch an approach closer than this."
"Venus can be visible during daylight hours so the 27th and 28th would be a good opportunity to view Jupiter and Venus in daylight telescopically," the Mudgee Observatory page said.
"Make sure that you stand with a building, tree or other object blocking the Sun when you attempt to observe the planets. This makes it easier to pick out Venus in the bright sky and prevents the telescope accidentally lining up with the Sun causing serious eye damage."
Space.com went on to say the Aug. 27 occurrence will be a rather special case, and better fits the definition of an appulse. An appulse is an astronomical term that refers to a very close approach of one celestial object to another. Read more about what Space.com has to say about the event here: Jupiter and Venus