You can watch two brilliant planets shining beside each other in the sky this week without leaving your home.
The online Virtual Telescope project will broadcast the two brightest planets in our sky — Venus and Jupiter — when they are just half a degree apart in the night sky. (Your clenched fist held at arm's length covers about 10 degrees of sky.)
The broadcast starts, weather permitting, at 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT) on both Wednesday (March 1) and Thursday (March 2). We will carry the streams here at Space.com on both days, courtesy of the project's website (opens in new tab).
"A conjunction involving planets Venus and Jupiter is always spectacular: after the moon, they are the brightest objects in the night sky," Virtual Telescope founder Gianluca Masi wrote on the event's webpage (opens in new tab). The planets will be visible from Rome, where he's streaming from, shortly after sunset, Masi added.
Related: The 12 best night sky events to see in 2023
Venus and Jupiter have been slowly encroaching on each other from Earth's point of view for weeks; for example, at the beginning of February they were roughly 30 degrees apart in the sky.
It's common for planets to pass close to each other from our perspective, although the event is pretty no matter how often you see it. The major planets, the moon and the sun all move along an imaginary line in Earth's sky known as the ecliptic. That's because the plane of our solar system is relatively flat, and most larger objects are tilted to almost the same number of degrees to our sun.
For more information on planet-spotting, consult our guide about when, where and how to see the planets in the 2023 night sky.
Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of "Why Am I Taller (opens in new tab)?" (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book about space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).
Observed 1730-1830 EST/2230-2330 UT. Some very good views of Jupiter and Venus this evening about 77 arcminutes apart. I used my 90-mm refractor telescope with eyepieces that allowed 25x to 40x views. TeleVue 40-mm plossl (25x), TeleVue 32-mm plossl (31x), and Orion Sirius 25-mm plossl (40x). The #12 Yellow filter allowed for easier viewing of Venus. Bright gibbous shape planet. At Jupiter cloud bands visible and the Galilean moons Ganymede, Io, Europa on one side, Callisto on the other side. Venus was near the 7:00 position in the eyepiece FOV while Jupiter 2:00 position (north up, mirror reverse view). Both planets fit into the FOV at 25x and 31x. Stellarium 1.2 angle measure showed the planets about 77 arcminutes apart tonight. Tomorrow night on 01-March-2023, Jupiter and Venus will be about 0.5-degrees angular separation. Higher power observations will be possible, weather permitting. This Jupiter and Venus close conjunction reminds me of the 04/30/22 close conjunction of the pair, again about 30-arcminutes or 0.5-degrees apart. From my log, morning observation note or 04/30/22. “Observed 0520-0625 EDT/0920-1025 UT. Sunrise 0611 EDT/1011 UT. Spectacular dazzling duo of Venus and Jupiter in Pisces this morning – WoW! Venus 67.42% illuminated; Jupiter 99.53% illuminated. Stellarium 0.22.1 angle mode shows separated by just less than 30 arcminutes (29 arcminute, 47 arcsecond at 0545 EDT).” Now I am enjoying another conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in Pisces 😊 Skies clear, temperature 7C, winds 360/7 knots.