Astronomers excited as Jupiter and Venus move closer together


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The Independent Online

Jupiter and Venus will appear closest over the next two nights, according to astronomers.

Although the planets are far apart in space, they will appear to be separated by only a few degrees.

Amateur astronomers will be excited by the prospect of two of the brightest planets in the solar system appearing so closely together, according to Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society.

He said: "Although conjunctions are not that rare, the interest in this one is a result of how spectacular it is.

"Both planets are very bright in the night sky. If you know where to look, you can even see Venus in the day. The two being so close together will be beautiful. Last night they looked like two beacons.

"It is also interesting for people because it just happens to be something which you can see for yourself. In the northern hemisphere we should look for them in the south west this evening. The pair will appear to move to the west over the course of the night.

"While the pair will drift apart after a couple of days, Jupiter will be visible for at least another two weeks."

Last Monday, Mars made its closest pass of earth in more than two years, and in June Venus will appear to cross in front of the sun from some positions on Earth.