Jupiter And Venus Are On A Conjunction Course For A Rare Night Sky Delight, See It Here
Saturday, April 30, 2022, 11:36 AM EDT
Venus and Jupiter are on what looks like a collision source in the night sky, in a rare otherworldly event. The two planets have been inching closer to one another every day this month.
If you looked up at the sky this morning, you may have noticed what appeared to be two bright stars close to one another. Chances are they were not stars, but rather the planets Venus and Jupiter. Venus was within 0.2 degrees, less than a full moon diameter, south of Jupiter. But don't worry if you missed them this morning, because they will still be very near to one another in the early morning sky on May 1st as well.
Those of you who are wanting to catch a glimpse of the two planets in the early morning sky in the Northern Hemisphere will notice Venus and Jupiter separated by a mere 0.6 degrees, as seen in the chart above. If you have a pair of binoculars handy, you can reduce the planetary glare and view them more clearly. While the two planets appear very close to one another in the night sky, they are actually separated by 430 million miles (690 million km). That is about five times the distance of the Earth to the Sun.
If you happen to be in the Southern Hemisphere, your view will be slightly different, see the chart below. Before dawn, the ecliptic path of the sun, moon, and planets lies more perpendicular to the morning horizon. Mars and Saturn will be seen above the planetary pair.
According to Earth Sky, the paths that the two planets take led the ancients to call them wanderers. This is because the two seem to meet and then "wander" away from one another once again. As they appear amazingly close to one another in the night sky, it is referred to as a conjunction. This term is used by astronomers when two objects cross paths in right ascension. The term is also used in an informal manner when indicating two objects appearing close to one another in our sky.
You may also notice that Venus and Jupiter are not alone in this particular field of view. They are accompanied by Mars and Saturn, making up a quartet of planets that have been aligning in the night sky all month long.