Jupiter and Venus to 'kiss' in the night sky Wednesday evening

Venus and Jupiter near Empire State Building
Venus and Jupiter near Empire State Building Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Jupiter and Venus have been getting closer to each other in the night sky and will meet on Wednesday evening before moving apart again. "It is an apparent close approach from our perspective, as the planets are in fact hundreds of millions of kilometers apart," said Paul Delaney, professor emeritus at the York University Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Venus, often called the "morning star" or "evening star" depending on its spot in the sky, is the brighter of the two planets. Jupiter, the solar system's largest planet, will be located slightly above it to the left. The planetary "kiss" occurs approximately once a year, according to CBC News.

"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," remarked Elaina Hyde, director of York University's Allan I Carswell Observatory. "At magnitude –2.1 and –4, the planets Venus and Jupiter are two of our brightest objects to see in the night sky."

In addition to the planets crossing paths, some may also be able to see three of Jupiter's brightest moons: Io, Ganymede, and Callisto. Scientists recommend using binoculars to get the best view.

"Any time the brightest planets, as seen from Earth, 'get together,' it is worth the look," said Delaney. "I never tire of watching their dance with respect to the background stars."

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