How to see Jupiter and Venus ‘kissing’ in the sky on Wednesday evening


Just after sunset on Wednesday, Jupiter and Venus will appear to embrace in the evening sky.

“Jupiter and Venus will be at their closest approach point on Wednesday evening, March 1,” Paul Delaney, an emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at York University, told “As the evening progresses, while they’re still above the horizon, they are just going to be dazzling over there on the western sky.”

As the two brightest objects in our sky after the sun and moon, the planets Venus and Jupiter should be clearly visible to most Canadians if the clouds allow it, including those in cities. Delaney says they’ll appear clearly distinct but very close together, almost as though they’re “nudging” or “kissing.” To catch the celestial dance, be sure to have an unobstructed view, then look west about 10 minutes after sunset to find Venus emerging from the twilight.

“Venus is going to pop out really clear: it’ll be about two fists’ widths above the horizon,” Delaney explained. “And then give it a couple more minutes, and you’ll see Jupiter just above it. So you’re looking for the two brightest points of light, a good hand-span above the western horizon.”

Venus appears as a bright pinpoint of white light, while Jupiter is slightly duller. At their closest, the planets will seem to be about a moon’s width apart before drifting away again.

“Anybody who’s been looking towards the western sky over the last couple of weeks will have noticed that Jupiter has been sinking like a stone towards Venus, getting closer and closer,” Delaney added. “And after Wednesday, they’re going to begin to separate again, they’ll get further and further apart.”

With Earth and Mars orbiting the sun between them, Venus and Jupiter of course are not actually close together in space.

“They’re actually over 750 million kilometres apart,” Delaney said. “But from our perspective, as we on Earth look past where Venus is into the outer solar system, it’s that apparent alignment that we’re looking at between.”

With a pair of binoculars, you may be able to spot three or four of Jupiter’s larger moons; with a telescope, you might also see the tops of Jupiter’s clouds.

Elaina Hyde is a professor in York University’s physics and astronomy department, and also the director of the Allan I Carswell Observatory in Toronto. If conditions are clear, the observatory will be live-streaming the event on its YouTube channel, starting at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

“We expect it to be a treat for both urban and rural viewers, so fingers crossed that the weather is clear,” Hyde told “A chance to view our neighbour planets is always exciting, seeing them close together in the sky gives us a chance to see celestial mechanics in action.”

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