Tonight and tomorrow night (March 1st and 2nd), skywatchers will be treated to an extraordinary sight as two planets align as if they are touching each other in space.
Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, and Venus, the brightest planet, will merge in a so-called conjunction. But what is going on?
what is that?
“A conjunction is when two celestial bodies (usually planets) appear very close to the sky from our point of view on Earth,” he says. Martin Archer at Imperial College London. “The reason this happens is that all the planets orbiting the Sun orbit in roughly the same plane called the Ecliptic. That means there may be times when the planets are at the same angle, no matter what angle you look at them.” not.”
how do you see it
You can see the conjunction visible in the western sky with the naked eye. This is due to the size of the planets involved. However, you can also use binoculars or a telescope.
How often does this occur?
that is Kepler’s law of planetary motion, and how the planets orbit the Sun as a function of gravity. “We found that these conjunctions can occur frequently,” he says Archer. “The inner planets are orbiting faster than the Earth, so from our point of view they can converge a lot.” Venus and Jupiter converge about once a year. .
Why are conjunctions so popular with people?
In light-polluted areas like cities, you can’t see many stars, but you can see planets. “With the naked eye, you can usually see planets like Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn,” says Archer. “It’s pretty cool that you two are so close to the sky.”
Are Jupiter and Venus really close?
Although it may appear that two planetary bodies are in contact, they are not. They’re about 600 million kilometers apart, so there’s no need to worry about conjunction.
“There used to be a history of these conjunctions being a warning signal,” says Archer. “Because we’re literally in the right place in the solar system. They’re not doing anything to each other. It’s just a pretty light show.”