Jupiter and Venus to ‘join’ in the evening sky on Wednesday



Jupiter and Venus to ‘join’ in the evening sky on Wednesday

On Wednesday, you can see two of the brightest planets in the night sky come together — and you don’t need binoculars to enjoy the show.

Look to the west after sunset to see them almost appear as one

Nicole Mortillaro · CBC News


An evening sky over a frozen lake shows two bright star-like objects, which are Jupiter and Venus.

Jupiter and Venus are seen over a frozen lake. (Shutterstock/Erkki Makkonen)

On Wednesday, you can see two of the brightest planets in the night sky come together.

If you’re looking toward the west after sunset, you’ll be able to see two bright “stars” in the sky: Those are actually Jupiter and Venus, and they’ve been getting closer and closer every night. 

“It is an apparent close approach from our perspective, as the planets are in fact hundreds of millions of kilometres apart,” said Paul Delaney, professor emeritus with York University’s department of physics and astronomy.

“Nonetheless, winter sky watchers will have noticed the steady approach of these planets over the last several weeks. It peaks on March 1 — a great photo opportunity.”

Venus — often referred to as the “evening star” or “morning star” depending on where it is in the sky — is the brightest of the two and can be found low in the west.

Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, can be found just above and to the left of Venus.

How and when to see them

One of the best things about conjunctions is that you don’t need binoculars or telescopes to see them. If you do happen to have a pair of binoculars, however, you can get a great closeup view of the pair.

“Venus and Jupiter will be within about half a degree (or the width of the full moon) together in the sky,” said Elaina Hyde, director of York University’s Allan I Carswell Observatory.

“This means with most binoculars, you will be able to see them together.”

What makes it even more interesting is that you can also see four of Jupiter’s brightest moons. And if you take a look through a pair of binoculars over several nights, you will be able to see how the moons move night after night. 

On Wednesday, however, three of the moons will be visible to the left of Jupiter, beginning with Io (closest to the planet), followed by Ganymede and then Callisto.

“At magnitude –2.1 and –4, the planets Venus and Jupiter are two of our brightest objects to see in the night sky,” Hyde said in an email.

“Venus and Jupiter are somewhat common conjunctions, occurring about once a year, but if you have clear skies it should still be a very fun object to view.”

A telescope is silhouetted against an evening sky, with two bright star-like objects that are actually Jupiter and Saturn.

Planetary conjunctions happen relatively often, like this one of Jupiter and Saturn, though they may not always be as close as the one coming up on Wednesday. (Shutterstock/AstroStar)

Delaney recommended people watch the planets a few days before and after the close conjunction on March 1, as it illustrates just how the planets move as they orbit the sun.

If your area doesn’t have clear skies on Wednesday, Hyde said the observatory plans to livestream images of the event on its YouTube channel, weather permitting. The Virtual Telescope Project will also be hosting a livestream. You can also check your local astronomy clubs for any observing sessions.

“Any time the brightest planets, as seen from Earth, ‘get together,’ it is worth the look,” said Delaney. “While these planets do enter conjunction reasonably often (every few years), I never tire of watching their dance with respect to the background stars.” 


Based in Toronto, Nicole covers all things science for CBC News. As an amateur astronomer, Nicole can be found looking up at the night sky appreciating the marvels of our universe. She is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the author of several books. In 2021, she won the Kavli Science Journalism Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science for a Quirks and Quarks audio special on the history and future of Black people in science. You can send her story ideas at Nicole.Mortillaro@cbc.ca.

Share post:




More like this

More students turning to food banks as inflation shrinks already tight budgets

A local students’ association has seen significant increase...

Hundreds sign petition against Vernon, B.C. cemetery rules

Rules restricting the kind of tributes allowed to...

Guilbeault wants stronger links with Alberta on issues of oilsands tailings ponds

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault has repeated his...

Okanagan vape, cannabis store owners voice concerns about window coverings

A Penticton, B.C., vape shop owner is calling...