Jupiter and Venus are the brightest objects in the sky after the Sun and Moon. These blazing planets are much brighter than any “stars” in the sky. These planets are visible nearly all the time, most every night of our lives. For some reason, this simple fact is not taught in the schools or reported in the media. Most people today are not aware that the planets are among the most conspicuous objects in the sky, and are easily visible, even from the glowing lights of the city. Thus, the bright planets are mostly unknown in our generation, even though they have been seen by all generations down through history, since ancient times.
But you have a chance now, in 2015, to make friends with Jupiter and Venus! All you need is a pair of eyeballs! No telescope needed! All you have to do is go outside and look! It’s that simple! Yes, those two blazing “stars” in the western sky REALLY ARE Jupiter and Venus! No, they are NOT airplanes! And no, they are not UFOs! Really! Google “jupiter venus conjunction 2015” for more info if you don’t believe me!!!
The planets Venus and Jupiter have been drawing closer together in the evening sky ever since last winter, when Jupiter and Venus were on opposite sides of the sky. By the first week of June, these planets began to occupy the same part of the sky, and were both visible together at a glance, separated by only 20 degrees.
Throughout the month of June, Venus and Jupiter have been drawing closer with each passing night. But the closer these two planets get, the more change you will observe with each passing night! By the night of Tuesday, June 30, Jupiter and Venus will be right on top of each other! At the precise moment of conjunction, Jupiter and Venus will be separated by a mere 0.4 degrees. This is LESS than a single diameter of the Moon! To put this into perspective, if you hold a regular #2 pencil at arm’s length, the separation between Jupiter and Venus will be less than the width of the eraser!
Lunar Conjunctions This Month
Pay special attention to the Moon this coming week, as the New Moon emerges from the glow of the sunset, to signal the star of the Hebrew month of Tammuz. The waxing crescent Moon will enter the scene on Friday, June 19, when it will appear below Venus and Jupiter after sunset. By the next evening, Saturday, June 20, the Moon will be alongside Jupiter and Venus, making its closest pass to these planets. The next night, Sunday, June 21, the Moon is near the star Regulus in Leo as summer begins for the northern hemisphere (as shown in the “solstice” graphic above). Each of these nights are sure to offer a beautiful sight, so please do your best to see this with your family!
Please make it a point to observe these glorious sights that the LORD has placed over our heads. And help your family and friends to see these sights too, along with the members of your homeschool support group. A summer alignment of Jupiter and Venus will not happen again in our lifetime, so don’t miss it!
Jay Ryan is the author of Signs & Seasons, a homeschool astronomy curriculum. Keep posted with events in the night sky by subscribing to The Classical Astronomy Update, a FREE email newsletter especially for homeschoolers (though everyone is welcome!) Visit www.ClassicalAstronomy.com for more info.