Last night, the month-long celestial build up climaxed with the planets, Venus and Jupiter, seeming to collide in the night sky.
In a rare occurence, the second and fifth planets in our solar system came within a fraction of a degree of each other. That means that they appeared to be so close that they looked to be colliding with one another. You could hold up your hand and cover both behind your smallest finger.
And you didn’t have to be a seasoned skywatcher or own a fancy telescope to see them either.
Although Venus was about 46 million miles from Earth and Jupiter was 560 million miles from Earth, both planets were visible with the naked eye. Their brightness made them really easy to spot.
— NASA Marshall News (@NASA_Marshall) July 1, 2015
So what exactly happened? Well, it’s called planetary conjunction.
Essentially, the planets are appearing in close proximity to one another as they race around the sun.
The whole thing may look slow, but according to NASA, Jupiter orbits at 29,205 mph and Venus flies by at 78,339 mph. Sometimes they end up near each other. In other words, one just lapped the other.
— Starfest 2015 (@Starfest2015) July 1, 2015
If you missed last night’s show, don’t worry. They may still appear close tonight, but another conjunction is estimated to happen Aug. 27, 2016.
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