Venus and Jupiter Conjunction in March 2012

Venus and Jupiter Conjunction in March 2012

Venus and Jupiter conjunction. They have been moving toward one another in the night sky for months  now,

and star gazers get a special treat this week as they line up for a planetary conjunction. The celestial action peaks Thursday (March 15), when Venus and Jupiter line up in what’s known as a planetary conjunction. Venus-Jupiter conjunctions are fairly special events, occurring roughly every 13 months. And as say experts this one should be the best conjunction for several years to come for viewers in the Northern Hemisphere, because the two planets will be visible for so long in the evening sky. At mid-northern latitudes on Thursday, the pair should blaze bright over the western horizon for about four hours after sunset. Though Jupiter is about 11 times wider than the roughly Earth-size Venus, Venus shines much more brightly than the gas giant from our perspective about eight times more brightly this week, in fact. That’s because Venus is 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 away from the sun. Venus and Jupiter will part ways after this week, each heading off toward a different patch of sky. Then on June 5 Venus will cross the face of the sun from Earth’s perspective, appearing as a tiny black dot against the face of our star. Such Venus transits occur fewer than two times per century, on average. After June 5, the next one will take place in 2117.
source:www.space.com