Venus And Jupiter Set For Cosmic Meetup

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They're two of the brightest planets in the sky — and they're about to have a close encounter.

Sky and Telescope has a diagram of Venus and Jupiter's dance in the darkness.

National Geographic explains...

"The planetary pair will be only 3 degrees apart. That is equal to the width of your three middle fingers at arms length, making for a spectacular sight not to be missed."

Of course — in space, the planets will actually be pretty far apart. But for us earthlings, they'll be looking pretty cozy.

Stargazers have been able to see the planets moving closer together over the last few weeks. The Watchers blog posted this video time lapse of what scientists call a "conjunction". This is from February 24th — but the two planets will be at their closest this week. reports the cosmic event is especially dazzling since the two planets are oh-so-bright.

"When the planets are closest,Venus will glow at magnitude -4.3, while Jupiter will shine at -2.1 on astronomers' magnitude scale.. (negative numbers suggest an extremely bright view)... Venus will appear nearly eight times brighter than Jupiter."

In fact — Venus and Jupiter are are so radiant, NPR reports — even those living in light-polluted cities will be able to see the show.

"...the light reflected from Venus and Jupiter are so intense that they have no problem cutting through a haze that would wash out even the brightest stars."

Scientists say the Venus-Jupiter rendezvous actually happens about every 13 months — but as The Register explains....

"... they need to meet at just the right place for us to be able to see them together from our vantage point on Earth."

If you want to watch the planetary tango — just look west the next few nights. If you miss it — reports the same conjunction will happen again in 2036.

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