How to see Thursday night’s Jupiter-Venus conjunction shining bright enough for the naked eye

The planets Venus, left, and Jupiter, right, with three of its moons visible, appear close together in the sky above tree branches after sunset.Ted S. Warren/AP Photo

  • Jupiter and Venus appear side by side in the sky tonight – your last chance to see the conjunction.

  • The two planets are brighter than any of the stars, so they are visible to the naked eye.

  • To see this “spring tester” planetary conjunction, look west after sunset.

Jupiter and Venus, the brightest planets in the sky, have moved closer together in the sky in recent weeks. This dance reached its climax after sunset on Wednesday, when the two planets appeared to almost touch – a beautifully bright Jupiter-Venus conjunction.

But don’t despair: the planetary conjunction continues Thursday evening. Venus and Jupiter only meet in this fashion once every 13 months, so this is your last chance to experience this spectacular event this year.

AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Lada calls the convergence of Jupiter and Venus the “vernal tester.”

That’s because the conjunction began on March 1 — the first day of meteorological spring, when temperatures begin to shift historically. That’s unlike astronomical spring, which begins on March 17, which is based on the position of the Earth and sun rather than the weather.

Jupiter and Venus should be visible to the naked eye from almost anywhere on Earth, as long as the weather permits and clouds don’t obstruct your view. In fact, Venus is the third brightest object in the sky, after the sun and the moon. Jupiter is the fourth brightest, which will make for a spectacular image during the conjunction.

You don’t want to miss this spring star.

How to spot Jupiter and Venus in the sky

jupiter and venus planets close side by side

Jupiter (left) and Venus (right) are two of the brightest objects in the sky.NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

On March 2, look west. Near the horizon, about an hour after sunset, Jupiter and Venus appear about a degree apart — that’s the width of two full moons, or about half the width of your thumb at arm’s length, according to the Adler Planetarium.

In other words, extremely close to each other – so close that it might be hard to tell the two apart. But if you look closely, Venus will be on the right and appear slightly brighter than Jupiter.

Be sure to watch the sky before 10 PM EST or you’ll miss it. Both planets will disappear below the horizon a little after 10 p.m.

The planets will creep away from each other night after night, with Venus rising and Jupiter sinking toward the horizon and the sun.

If it is too cloudy and you cannot see it with your own eyes, you can watch the conjunction online from Wednesday in a YouTube broadcast from the Virtual Telescope Project.

On Wednesday night, the planets were within half a degree of each other. According to, they won’t appear so close together for another decade.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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