Look up to the skies on Wednesday to see Jupiter and Venus 'come together'

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Look up to the skies on Wednesday to see Jupiter and Venus “join”

The coming together of Venus and Jupiter is quite common and occurs about once a year.

Astronomy enthusiasts can look up to the west, just after sunset on Wednesday night to Thursday, during which it will be possible to observe Jupiter and Venus joining in the sky.

From our perspective, the two planets will appear to be moving closer, even though they are actually hundreds of millions of miles apart, says the Emeritus Professor in the University of York's Department of Physics and Astronomy , Paul Delaney.

People will have noticed the coming together of these two planets over the past few weeks, a coming together that will culminate on March 1, the professor points out, adding that it will be an excellent opportunity for photography.

To observe them, you just have to find Venus, the brighter of the two, which is located towards the west, quite low in the sky. Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, sits just above, to the left of Venus.

No need for binoculars or a telescope to observe the phenomenon, since the two planets are clearly visible to the naked eye. Binoculars could however offer an interesting close-up, since it will be possible to observe them together.

Venus and Jupiter will be about half a degree apart, the equivalent of the width of the full moon, says director of the Allan I. Carswell Observatory at the University of York, Elaina Hyde.

Venus and Jupiter are common conjunctions that occur about once a year, but if the sky is clear, it can be a fun sighting, she adds.

What makes this moment all the more interesting is that it will also be possible to catch a glimpse of four of Jupiter's brightest moons. On Wednesday, three of these moons will be visible to the left of the planet, in the order Io, Ganimede and Callisto.

Paul Delaney also recommends that astronomy enthusiasts observe these planets not only during their closest approach, on March 1, but also a few days before and a few days afterwards to see how they move around the sun.

If the sky becomes overcast in parts of the country on Wednesday, it will still be possible to follow live images from the University Observatory, weather permitting. Astronomy clubs can also organize observation evenings.

Whenever the brightest planets, when observed from Earth, come this close, it's a sight worth seeing. Even though it happens relatively frequently, I never get tired of seeing them dancing like this in the stars, concludes Paul Delaney.

With information from Nicole Mortillaro

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