March 17, 2012 2 Comments
Recently, people can see special two bright stars in night sky. These two stars are so bright that people even can recognize those by their eyes. According to this article, these stars are Venus and Jupiter. Venus and Jupiter have moved toward each other for the last several months, and now they are located so close that people can blot them both out with just a few fingers held at arm’s length. Astronomers call this status of two starts as a planetary conjunction Tuesday (March 13). According to this article, Jupiter and Venus lined up just 3 degrees apart, and they move away from each other gradually. For example, On March 13, the degree between those two was 3.0 degree, and on March 14, it became 3.1 degrees. Therefore the degree will be 3.2, 3.3, and so on. Even though the two stars look like close to each other, they are far from each other. The reasons are size and distance.
In this article, the author said, “Though Jupiter is about 11 times wider than the roughly Earth-size Venus; Venus appears about eight times more luminous these days. That’s because Venus is so much closer to us than Jupiter is. On average, Earth orbits 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from the sun, a distance defined as 1 astronomical unit (AU). Venus zips around our star at about 0.72 AU, while Jupiter is found roughly 5.2 AU from the sun.
In this year, this phenomenon is very special because the two planets were visible for so long in the sky and appeared so bright. We will see another Venus-Jupiter conjunction after 13 months.