¡SkyCaramba! Weekly astronomy blog for the week ending June 20, 2015
Venus and Jupiter are about to meet up just a little west of the sickle in Leo. They’ll be barely 0.3° apart. You could think of this rendezvous as a reprise of another meeting these two planets have had there. Two millennia ago, they were less than 0.1° apart. They were so close, they would have looked like they merged into one object!
Venus has been in our evening sky since December. Since then it has passed close to Mercury and Mars while passing through Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Taurus, and Gemini. It is now in Cancer and heading toward Leo. Jupiter moves much more slowly. Since December, it has gone westward and then eastward in the space between Leo and Cancer. That is the region where the two planets will meet up right at the end of June.
Jupiter and Venus 1/3° apart will be a beautiful sight with and without a telescope. That’s less than the apparent width of the full moon. But try to imagine them with only about 1/5 the separation. That’s what you would have seen 2,017 years ago! If we extend our current calendar ...