Venus and Jupiter Are About to Get Real Close

by Kastalia Medrano
Getty Images / NASA

This Saturday, Venus and Jupiter’s respective orbits will bring the two planets the closest that they’ll be to each other until 2065. From certain angles in the night sky, the planets will appear to touch.

The event is being called Venus-Jupiter Conjunction 2016, which sounds kind of like a lame team-building office retreat, but also kind of like a fun rave. To watch it (assuming you’re a reader in the United States and Canada), try to get yourself to the least light-polluted area possible by sunset on August 27; the planets will be located about five degrees above the Western horizon. The best time to see their close proximity will be about half an hour after the sun goes down.

Venus will be the higher of the two planets. You should be able to see them with the naked eye, but suggests that a pair of binoculars might come in handy, especially if you’re somewhere hazy. A telescope might allow you to catch some of Jupiter’s rings and perhaps its larger moons. If you miss it, though, don’t worry too much — the planets will, you know, still be there.

Venus and Jupiter pass by each other all the time (relatively speaking; they do it once a decade or so) but this particular pass will bring them closer than they’ll be for decades after this. They’ll appear closest at precisely 6:31 p.m. EDT.

Related Tags