If you have been outside during the frequently clear nights lately, you have probably seen a bright object in the western sky. The bright object happens to be the planet Venus. Apart from the Sun and the Moon, Venus is the brightest object that is visible in our skies. It stands out in the evening twilight, glowing brightly as it hangs serenely above the horizon. But soon it will have company: the planet Saturn.
If you go out after sunset (around 10.00pm) and look to the west, you will see bright Venus, and a dimmer “star” to its left. That “star” is – in actuality – the planet Saturn. And as these planets move around the sun, they change positions in relationship to the Earth, which is bringing Saturn closer to Venus in the evening sky. By the end of the week, they will be less than one degree apart, making a striking pair of objects in the deepening twilight. Soon after, Saturn will “pass” Venus as it gets closer to the sun.
The excellent site Spaceweather.com has some images of the pairing for different days this week.
After this Saturn will leave Venus behind, and once again it will shine all alone, it’s nearest really bright neighbor half the sky away, shining in the southeastern sky. The planet is Jupiter, and it and Venus shine like two beacons in the night sky.
More on that later.