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Tonight, see Jupiter and Venus close enough to touch

Tonight, see Jupiter and Venus close enough to touch

Although Venus and Jupiter are actually millions of kilometres apart, tonight, from here on Earth, they'll appear right on top of one another!

Have you noticed the particularly bright 'stars' in the western sky, just after sunset? Those are actually the planets Venus and Jupiter, and over the past week, they've been drawing closer and closer, each night.

On March 1, 2023, in the hours just after sunset, we will see the two form a conjunction — a close alignment of two or more planets in our sky.

Jupiter-Venus-Feb28-Mar2
Jupiter-Venus-Feb28-Mar2

These three panels show how Venus and Jupiter will look, near the western horizon, just after sunset on Feb. 28, Mar. 1, and Mar. 2 of 2023. Credit: Stellarium/Scott Sutherland

This is the second close conjunction for Venus this season.

Back on January 22, it was so close to Saturn in the sky that the two celestial objects appeared to merge!

The motion of the planets around the Sun, coupled with our vantage point from the surface of Earth, plays tricks on our perception though.

Jupiter-Venus-Mar1-Celestia
Jupiter-Venus-Mar1-Celestia

This simulation of the solar system shows the alignment of Venus and Jupiter in relation to Earth on March 1, 2023. Credit: Celestia/Scott Sutherland

Currently, Venus and Jupiter are over 657 million kilometres apart from one another. Despite that mind-boggling distance, as we watch them travel through our sky, they instead appear close enough to touch.

Thumbnail image courtesy the free open source home planetarium software Stellarium

Watch below: What's that in the sky? How to identify that flash of light you just saw

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