The night sky has become beautiful these days. There are three planets visible to naked eyes in the night sky. These three planets are Saturn, Venus and Jupiter. Out of these Jupiter and Venus are coming close to each as if they are just going to merge. They will appear to meet each other on the night of 30th June 2015. I know now you must be excited to have a look at this astronomical event, so come out of home and have a look in the western sky just after sunset. You will automatically recognise two brightest objects coming closure to each other in the western sky.
The planet Venus and Jupiter are sliding towards each other from the beginning of June when they were 20° apart. The planet Venus and Jupiter are the third and fourth brightest object in the sky after the sun and the moon. Thus, it is not difficult to locate these planets in the sky; you just have to look in the western sky after sunset. The brightest object will be Venus and just next to it a slightly less bright object will be the planet Jupiter. The Venus is also called evening and morning star although it is not a star.
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The interest twist came when the crescent moon joined the Venus and Jupiter resulting in triple conjunction on 20th June 2015. After that the moon moved further on it path leaving these two planet sliding towards each other. If you look around, you will find a star named as Regulus in the constellation of Leo. Regulus, Jupiter and Venus appear to lie along straight line. The straight line lies near the ecliptic, the path along which the Earth orbits the sun. Both Venus and Jupiter are sliding towards Regulus.
You may be thinking that the planet Jupiter will reach the Regulus first because it is closure to Regulus as compared to the planet Venus. But actually the Venus planet is sliding towards Regulus faster than Jupiter planet. The planet which is closure to the sun moves faster as compared to farther planets. The planet Venus revolves around the sun with the velocity of 35 Km per second, whereas the planet Jupiter moves with velocity 13 Km per second. Apart from slower velocity, the planet Jupiter has to traverse 7 times longer path than that of Venus. Both of these factors lead to the faster apparent motion of Venus than that of Jupiter in the sky.
- How does Venus protect its atmosphere from solar wind in the absence of Magnetosphere?
- Reasons for excessive amount of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere of Venus.
The Venus moving towards Regulus will reach the closest to Jupiter on 30th June 2015 which will be called Venus Jupiter Conjunction. During the Venus and Jupiter conjunction, the planet will be just 1/3° apart from each other and appear like double stars. During the eight nights from 27th June to 4th July, they will be within 2° of each other and both can be covered by thumb of hand outstretched.
On 30th June, they will appear to just collide but you don’t have to worry because they are actually very far away from each other. On 30th, Venus will be 78 million km form the Earth and Jupiter will be more than 10 times at 908 million km. On conjunction, the brightness of Venus and Jupiter will be magnitude -4.14 and -1.37 whereas the star Regulus will be having brightness of magnitude 1.35, the brightness is measured in magnitude with higher magnitude as fainter and lower magnitude as brighter object.
The conjunction of Venus and Jupiter is not a rare event. The orbit of Venus is tilted by 3.4° with respect to orbit of Earth and that of Jupiter is by 1.3°. Thus, the Jupiter and Venus conjunction happens frequently, the last conjunction occurred on last August 18th. The next conjunction will be happening in the morning of October 26th when they will be separated by just 1°.
Thus be prepared with you telescopes and binoculars to enjoy this fantastic astronomical event. If you don’t have access to telescope or binocular then also you don’t need to be upset because this event is even more interesting with naked eyes. Please share this post with your friends before 30th so they don’t miss this beautiful event. You may subscribe us for email notification if want to remain updated on astronomy.