Monday, March 12, 2012

Earthlings Dazzled by Venus-Jupiter Close Encounter

[In Vedic Astrology Jupiter is the great benefic; Venus is the lesser benefic.--Lori]

(Discovery News) The two brightest planets in the sky, Venus and Jupiter, will likely draw attention to the western sky as darkness falls this week.
Planetariums, observatories and perhaps even weather forecast offices might get a number of inquiries about what those "two bright lights in the sky" are.
On Monday evening (March 12) they'll appear to line up side-by-side, and on Tuesday evening (March 13), they will be separated by just 3 degrees (about the width of two fingers held out at arm's length), with Venus standing just above and to Jupiter's right.
Shining in a completely dark sky for more than two hours before finally disappearing beyond the west-southwest horizon after 10:30 p.m. local daylight time, this planetary pair may appear even more eerie when they're sitting just above the horizon as opposed to when they appear higher in the sky.
There are also three interesting aspects concerning this eye-catching configuration.
Eight Times Brighter
When the planets are closest, Venus will glow at magnitude -4.3, while Jupiter will shine at -2.1 on astronomers' magnitude scale in which lower numbers correspond to brighter objects (negative numbers suggest an extremely bright view). Read More

James Kelleher on Jupiter