Venus, Jupiter Putting on Historic Show in Western Sky

Step outside tonight and take a gander at the western horizon about an hour after sundown. You may witness something that could be once-in-a-lifetime.

Step out the front door and find an unobstructed view of the western horizon and you might be able to witness an historic conjunction of planets high above St. Michael and Albertville.

The conjunction–or joint appearance of two celestial bodies in the night sky–is Jupiter and Venus. Two distinctly different planets (one consists of primarily rock and dust, the other gas), and one great view.

According to NASA.gov:

"In late March 2012, Venus and Jupiter will be in conjunction in the western skies, drawing closer to each other to create a beautiful visual duet for a few hours each evening.

This will be the best Venus-Jupiter conjunction for years to come. While bright to the unaided eye, they're even better when seen through a telescope."

The two planets were at their brightest last Thursday, but will continue to appear and are still quite bright. In fact, they appear to be moving closer together as March proceeds.

If you're really into this sort of thing, NASA scientist Melissa McGrath will be hosting a "live chat" on the website Sunday, March 25 to discuss the conjunction.

Feel free to share your photos of the conjunction, which actually happens quite frequently (about every 13 months) but won't happen at this brightness again for "many years," NASA states.

Bex March 19, 2012 at 12:42 PM
We've been watching this for the past week or so. The kids think it is really neat to see other planets. Well, I guess us big "kids" do, too :) Thanks for posting this. We'll be sure to check it out again tonight!
layne roschen March 19, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Need to add this helpful article. The waxing crescent moon (sliver shaped) will be close to Jupiter and Venus during the next weekend (March 24, 25, 26). Don't miss it!
Mike Schoemer March 26, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Layne - You could kind of see it last night through the haze (clouds were moving in) and it was REALLY neat. The best night, I'm guessing, would've been Saturday night around 9 p.m. Hopefully we get a clear day here soon before the half moon.


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