Venus & Jupiter Conjunction
13 March 2012 -- Western Evening Sky
By Martin Lewicki, Adelaide Planetarium, South Australia.
This month's Venus-Jupiter alignment occurs 45 degrees from the Sun making it easy to view in the evening twilight. On 13 March they will be closest at 3 degrees from each other.
Venus-Jupiter alignments are not all that rare. There is on average one a year but many of them are not favourably placed due to being too close to the Sun and lost to bright twilight. Others are pre-dawn events where there are fewer people out and about to see them. Some are clouded out due to unseasonable weather.
The most recent notable Venus-Jupiter alignment occurred on December 1, 2008 when a waxing crescent Moon joined the configuration creating the the celebrated "Smiley Face" witnessed by observers favourably placed in the Asia-Pacific region.
Photograph of the famous "Smiley Face" Venus-Jupiter-Moon alignment in 2008.
The next two alignments on May 28, 2013 and August 18, 2014 are too close to the Sun and are likely to be washed out by bright twilight.
But the following alignment on July 1, 2015 is even more spectacular than the current one when once again in the evening sky Venus and Jupiter align but within 0.3 degrees of each other and a comfortable 42 degrees away from the Sun for easy viewing.
Sky Maps for Venus-Jupiter Conjunction of 13 March 2012
Martin Lewicki is an Astronomy educator at the Adelaide Planetarium in South Australia. A member of the Astronomical Society of South Australia he heads their light pollution section and especially enjoys following the meanderings of the planets and looking out for those occasional enchanting groupings in the night sky.
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