The sight on the eve of the kiss

Venus and Jupiter kiss in the Flemish sky tonight

The planets Venus and Jupiter are set to “kiss” in the Flemish night sky tonight in a stunning planetary conjunction. The phenomenon can be witnessed in the western sky after dark.  Venus and Jupiter are the brightest planets in our system and for weeks now they have been edging closer and closer together in the sky.

If skies are clear look towards the west after sunset and you should see two spots of light getting closer and closer. These are not stars but the brightest planets of our system.  Like all the planets they complete an ellipse-shaped trajectory around the sun.  When these trajectories approach each other from earth it can look like the two planets are immensely close.

Seen from earth Venus and Jupiter have been coming ever closer in recent days.  Today they are in conjunction and are as close as they will get.  Seen from earth the two planets nearly touch.  It is known as the kiss of Venus and Jupiter, both planets named after Roman gods.

Of course their kiss is an illusion and in reality, the planets are still separated from each other by hundreds of millions of kilometres of space.

Get the best result after sundown till 9PM CET.  Look to the south west, low towards the horizon.   As the sun goes down it is Venus that first becomes visible.  Later Jupiter will impose itself above Venus.

You can admire the spectacle with the naked eye, binoculars or a small telescope.  Enthusiasts are also welcome at the Mira Observatory in Grimbergen (Flemish Brabant).

After today Venus and Jupiter will head further and further away from each other.  Venus becomes the planet on top with Jupiter below.  Venus is moving away from the sun and will remain visible in the night’s sky, while Jupiter moves towards the sun and will be more difficult to see.

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