In the night sky, the planets Venus and Jupiter will practically touch
You might be able to see two of the solar system’s brightest planets almost touching this weekend if you look up in the sky at the correct time.
Although Venus and Jupiter will be millions of kilometres apart, they will appear to be on the verge of colliding with Earth.
This planetary conjunction occurs once a year, although it will be closer this year than usual.
The next time something like this happens will be in 2039.
It should be visible with the naked eye or binoculars in a clear sky.
The two planets will drift apart in the coming days as they move away after Saturday.
“It’s extremely exciting for astronomers, and it’s a fantastic occasion for people to get out and have a look,” says Prof Lucie Green, a space scientist and chief stargazer of the Society for Popular Astronomy.
A conjunction happens when two planets appear to be close together or even touch in the Earth’s night sky.
Venus and Jupiter have been progressively approaching each other in the sky in the days leading up to Saturday.
The planets’ orbits are around 430 million miles apart in reality, yet their apparent alignment as seen from Earth provides the impression that they are touching.
The best time to see it was approximately 05:00 BST on Saturday. However, when the planets progressively move away, it will still be visible on Sunday and in the ensuing days.
Looking east before the sun rises is excellent in the pre-dawn hours.
The planets will be low in the sky, near the horizon, and the view will be obstructed by hills and buildings. Look for two dazzlingly bright lights that are extremely close together from a high vantage point.
You might be able to discern some structure in Jupiter’s atmosphere or some of its larger moons if you have a telescope.
The conjunction can be seen from both hemispheres of the Earth at various times of day and night.
A telescope can also be used to see Mars and Saturn, which form a line of four planets.
Professor Green stated that she will be up and out of bed in the United Kingdom to see it.