Although they are actually 400 million miles apart, Jupiter and Venus are so close tonight that they look like they might collide.
What Is A Jupiter-Venus Kiss?
We speak of a Jupiter-Venus conjunction when Venus passes Jupiter in its orbit around the Sun, only half a degree apart. The largest planet and the hottest planet appear closest to each other at this time.
Jupiter and Venus have been shining throughout February and even aligned with the Moon last week. But as the new month begins, the distance between Jupiter and Venus is already “less than the width of a pinky finger,” according to AccuWeather.
How To Spot The Conjunction?
The planetary kiss happens about once a year and is easy to spot on Wednesday night.
According to NASA, the Jupiter-Venus conjunction was first seen above the horizon in the western sky around 6:58 PM ET.
“Looking west, viewers should see Jupiter on the left and Venus on the right,” USA Today reported. “On March 2, the two planets will still be close together, but Venus will be northwest of where Jupiter appears in the sky.”
When Will Such A Conjunction See Next Time?
According to Noah Petro, a scientist with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission, the two planets will slowly drift toward each other on Wednesday and Thursday nights and then part ways in May 2024. Venus and Jupiter were last together on April 30, 2022.
According to Rice, the next time Venus and Jupiter will be as close as they are now will be on February 7, 2032.
On Wednesday night, Jupiter to the left of Venus will be the fainter orb because it is so much farther away, Rice said. Venus will shine nearly six times brighter than Jupiter.