- Jupiter and Venus will appear almost touching in the night sky on Wednesday and Thursday.
- They are the brightest objects in the sky after the sun and moon, so they are visible to the naked eye.
- To see this “spring star” planetary conjunction, look west after sunset.
Jupiter and Venus, the brightest planets in the sky, have been getting closer for the past few weeks. This night-sky dance will climax after sunset on Wednesday and Thursday, as the two planets are set to appear as if they are about to touch – a brilliant Jupiter-Venus conjunction.
This planetary conjunction occurs about once every 13 months, so this is your only chance to catch the rare event this year.
AccuWeather meteorologist Brian Lada calls the Jupiter-Venus convergence a “spring star.”
—NASA (@NASA) February 24, 2023
That’s because March 1 is the first day of meteorological spring, when temperatures historically begin to shift. That’s different from astronomical spring, starting March 17, which is based on the position of the Earth and the sun rather than time.
Jupiter and Venus should be visible to the naked eye from almost anywhere on Earth, as long as the weather permits and the clouds don’t obstruct your view. In fact, Venus is the third brightest object in the sky after the sun and moon. Jupiter is the fourth brightest, which will make for a stunning visual during the conjunction.
You won’t want to miss this spring star.
How to see Jupiter and Venus in the sky
On March 1, look west. Near the horizon, about an hour after sunset, Jupiter and Venus appear about half a degree apart — that’s the width of the full moon, or about a quarter of the width of your thumb at length. arm, according to the Adler Planetarium.
In other words, very close — so close that it can be difficult to tell the two apart. But if you look closely, Venus is to the right and appears slightly brighter than Jupiter.
The planets will still be close next Thursday night, about a degree apart. They creep away from each other each night, Venus rising and Jupiter falling toward the horizon and the sun.
If it’s too cloudy and you can’t see it with your own eyes, the Virtual Telescope Project plans to broadcast its telescope view in a live broadcast of the Venus-Jupiter meet-up on Wednesday and Thursday.
Just make sure you look up to the sky before 10:00 pm EST, or you’ll miss it. Both planets will set behind the horizon a little after 10 p.m.