On June 30, 2015, Venus and Jupiter lined up very closely in the night sky as seen from Earth, just 0.3 degrees apart — closer than the diameter of the full moon!
The day of the conjunction was muggy and cloudy, and I really didn’t expect to see them at all. To my surprise and relief, it cleared up and cooled off after nightfall.
You really don’t notice how much brighter Venus is than Jupiter until they’re right next to each other. Jupiter is much bigger, so it reflects a lot more sunlight, but it’s also a lot farther away.
Also, that conventional wisdom about how stars twinkle, but planets don’t? Not true. In turbulent air, planets absolutely twinkle.
Two nights later on July 2, I walked outside facing west. The sky near the horizon was still orange, but the two brightest planets were clearly visible against the deepening blue.
And just to show you how fast Venus moves across the sky, here’s the view 10 days before the conjunction, on June 20:
I didn’t have a tripod handy that night, so I used the top of the car, which conveniently lined up with Jupiter and the chimney.
Very cool! We saw them on Canada Day, which I think was one day away from the closest conjunction. Forgot my camera though, and it never takes very good astronomical shots anyway.
Thanks! Yeah, that would’ve been the day after.
This camera’s kind of hit and miss – I was thinking when I took the middle shot that night sky photos need either detail or context, and unless you go for a DSLR, it’s hard to get much in the way of detail.
I saw an amazing rising moon that same night, big and orange, and thought about pulling over to take a photo of that too, but realized there was no way it would come out.