Venus and Jupiter Align for Rare Planetary Conjunction
Wake up early on Monday, November 13 and you're bound to see a sight that's truly out of this world. One of the skywatching highlights of 2017, Venus and Jupiter will align early Monday morning in a rare conjunction you'll be able to see with the naked eye.
Often two of the brighter objects in the sky, it's been Venus that's dominating the celestial morning show since the spring, showing its stuff in bright fashion since early April.
Jupiter, on the other hand, had been standing out throughout evenings in the spring and summer, only to get faded by September sunsets. It's been out of sight in October, too close to the sunrise to be really visible.
However, come Saturday, Nov. 11, the solar system's biggest world will reappear, low to the east-southeast, approximately 45 minutes before sunrise and just a smidge below Venus. As the days of November roll by, Jupiter will ascend and grow in visibility while Venus moves closer to the sun. By Sunday morning, the planets will continue to get closer in the sky, and by Monday's meet-up the duo should make for a pretty planetary passing, set in the constellation Virgo.
In fact, the pair should appear by telescope to share a field of view, with Jupiter—a much larger place but also quite a bit farther away from Earth than Venus (which is 152 million miles from Earth; Jupiter is 594 million miles away)—appearing three times bigger than its view-mate.
On the other hand, weather permitting, observers not dealing with any obstruction should see Venus at a magnitude minus 3.9 brightness, somewhat stronger than Jupiter's anticipated shine of magnitude minus 1.7—but nonetheless offering a noticeable sight all around.