Image: Robert Horton
Recently, we have been watching the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, approaching one another in the evening sky, as seen in the two photos, taken less than a week apart. These events are referred to as a planetary conjunction, and their closest approach happened on March 1 when they were just over 1/2 degree apart, or the apparent diameter of the Moon. It was cloudy that night, but we still got an excellent view of the conjunction last night (March 2). One of our students, Mahmoud Hallak, took the close-up view using a portable 8" telescope set up on the roof next to the observatory. His photo clearly shows the moons of Jupiter.
The next conjunction of Venus and Jupiter will be on February 7, 2032.