The Spectacular Conjunction of Jupiter and Venus


”The Spectacular Conjunction of Jupiter and Venus” written by Saikiran Kumbhar

Jupiter Venus Conjunction

How will the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus be seen? By the end of February and the beginning of March, astronomers will be in for a treat. In the evening sky, Jupiter and Venus will be seen near one another. Technically speaking, when two planets appear in near conjunction, the phenomenon is referred to as an appulse. It should be fantastic to see the two brilliant planets Venus and Jupiter combining and setting towards the West horizon in the light of the early evening sunset! The annual conjunction between two of these planets means that this occurrence is not unusual. The occurrence in 2023 is unique, though, since it will mark its closest appearance in decades.

Jupiter and Venus Conjoin with the Moon

Early on Wednesday (Feb. 22), when the moon is near Venus and Jupiter in the sky, the three brightest celestial bodies conjoin. The moon will first go to Venus, the planet closest to the sun, and then shortly after that, it will approach Jupiter, the biggest planet in the solar system. The moon, Venus, and Jupiter will all be within eight degrees of one another on February 22, 2023, shortly after sunset. Jupiter Venus Conjuction

Progression towards Conjunction

The two brightest planets in our sky Venus and Jupiter are slowly approaching each other. At the start of February, these bright planets were separated by nearly 29 degrees. But from then on, they have been progressively coming closer together for the great celestial meetup by moving 1 degree a day. On February 27, the gap between these two celestial bodies will be nearly 2.5 degrees. Finally, these two planets will have to meet each other on Wednesday evening i.e. on March 1 when they will be separated approximately by just 0.50 degrees. You will see both the planets placed extremely close to one another in the night sky!

Jupiter Conjunction

Jupiter will shine with a magnitude of -2.1 whereas Venus will be blazing at a magnitude of -4.0. It will appear as if the two planets barely have any distance between them. But that’s not true! Venus is 194.47 million kilometers away, while the gas giant is 4 times farther from the Earth on the conjunction day. To the naked eye, however, the distance between the two will be breathtakingly small making it a striking visual spectacle. If you have a small telescope or binoculars you can easily make out the gibbous phase of Venus and three of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter. You can also view the belts of Jupiter if the atmosphere is clean and there is no turbulence in the air. All this will be visible, all at once, in a circumference of a small single eyepiece. Try to catch a beautiful glimpse of the solar system just 30 minutes after sunset as even without the telescope this spectacle will leave you in awe. 

The Conjunction of Planets

As the month progresses, Venus will progressively get closer to Jupiter every evening. The solar system is in operation here! As an inner planet and on a faster orbit than Jupiter, Venus is moving quickly in its orbit around the Sun. Two of the planets in our solar system are approaching one another as seen from Earth. A cosmic shuffle between Jupiter and Venus is bringing the two large planets closer to one another over time. When the two planets come closest together, on March 1, they will create a conjunction. If you are interested in viewing the conjunction from the telescope do join Stargazing Mumbai’s public outreach event on 1st March 2023. The timings and the location will be updated on our Instagram handle @stargazingmumbai. Hope to see you all there. And if you all get a snapshot of the conjunction do share the images and location to we will feature it in our monthly newsletter Cosmic Voyager.[/vc_column_text]

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