Saturday, August 20, 2005

Wanna See Something Beautiful?

Go out and look west tonight just after sunset and you'll see two extremely bright "stars" down near the horizon. These are really Jupiter, king of the gods, and his daughter Venus, goddess of love. Venus is the one on the lower right and Jupiter is up to the left.

Over the next two weeks they are going grow closer until they reach their closest on the nights of Wednesday, Aug. 31 and Thursday, Sept. 1. Keep watching as they part ways because on Tuesday, Sept. 6, they're going to be joined by a very slender sliver of a moon. Make sure to look for earthshine in the Moon's darkened limb that night.

Venus and Jupiter will be easiest to find about 30-45 minutes after sunset. If you have trouble finding planets, here's a Quicktime video of this conjunction from that may help.

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