Venus and Jupiter approach each other in the night sky on Wednesday (March 1), breaking records for the solar system, the hottest planet and the largest.
During a close approach between two planets, Venus and Jupiter pass within 29.4 arcminutes or half a degree of each other. in the sky (opens in new tab). They are so close that the two planets appear to “kiss” in the night sky. (Your fist held at arm’s length covers 10 degrees of the sky.)
From New York City, the pair will appear at 6:04 PM EST (2304 GMT), when both planets are about 23 degrees west of the horizon. Venus and Thursday It then sinks towards the horizon and sets about 2.5 hours after the Sun. The moment of closest approach will occur on Thursday (March 2) at 12:05 pm EST (0505 GMT).
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At close time, both the planets will be in Pisces. Venus has a magnitude of -4.0, while Jupiter has a magnitude of -2.1, with a minus prefix before both magnitudes to indicate particularly bright objects. Earth.
“They are close enough to fit within a field of view TelescopeBut visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars,” wrote In the Sky.
The second planet from the Sun, Venus is the hottest world in the Solar System. Venus is hotter than Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun, because it has a denser atmosphere that traps heat and creates an intense runaway greenhouse effect.
The surface temperature of Venus is about 900 degrees Fahrenheit (475 degrees Celsius), hot enough to melt lead. The planet is dotted with volcanoes, some of which may still be active. Volcanic activity, if it continues, helps increase temperatures by choking the atmosphere with greenhouse gases.
Jupiter is the most distant planet in the solar system – it’s the fifth planet from the Sun – and therefore much colder than Venus, with an average temperature of minus 238 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 150 degrees Celsius).
Although it loses the temperature race, it cannot challenge Jupiter in terms of size. The diameter of the massive gas giant is about 88,846 miles (142,984 km), while the diameter of Venus is just 7,520 miles (12,103 km). You can fit about 1,400 Venuses inside the gas giant.
This massive size difference means that even though Venus is much closer to Earth than Jupiter, the gas giant will have a larger angular size in the night sky on Wednesday compared to the second planet from the Sun. Jupiter has an angular measure of about 33″3, while Venus has an angular measure of 12″2.
If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of Venus and Jupiter during their close encounter, here are our guides Best binoculars And Best binoculars A great place to start.
If you want to take photos of the night sky, check out our guide How to photograph the moonAs well as ours The best cameras for astrophotography And Best lenses for astrophotography.
Editor’s note: If you’d like to take a photo of the close approach of Venus and Jupiter and share it with Space.com’s readers, send us your image(s), comments, and your name and location. [email protected].