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Venus/Jupiter conjunction on November 13

Tomorrow before sunrise – on November 13, 2017 – watch for the super-close pairing of the sky’s two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, low in the eastern sky at dawn. Depending on where you live worldwide, Venus and Jupiter will come closest together on the sky’s dome on the morning of November 13 or 14. But Venus and Jupiter will be snuggling plenty close together on both dates – close enough to easily fit inside the same binocular field (or possibly, a single field of view in a low-powered telescope).

At their closest, Venus and Jupiter will be 0.3o apart. That’s less than the apparent diameter of the moon (0.5o). What’s more, you won’t want to miss the waning crescent moon swinging by these worlds later this week. See the chart below.

Watch as the waning crescent moon swings by three morning planets and one bright star in the November morning sky.

The Northern Hemisphere has the big advantage for spotting the dazzling twosome at morning dawn. But no matter where you live, you’ll want to find an unobstructed horizon in the direction of sunrise to maximize your chances of spotting Venus and Jupiter near the horizon. Better yet, stand atop a hill or balcony, to peek farther over the horizon and to view a little more sky.

These worlds rise sooner before the sun at more northerly latitudes. For instance, at mid-northern latitudes (like those in the United States or Europe), Venus and Jupiter rise better than an hour before the sun. At the equator (0o latitude), these two worlds come up about 50 minutes before sunrise; and at temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, Venus and Jupiter rise 40 minutes (or less) before sunrise.

Click here for an almanac to know the precise time that Venus and Jupiter rise into your sky.

After tomorrow morning, Jupiter will climb higher up in the morning sky day by day while Venus will plunge sunward day by day. So, while the time is at hand, enjoy the picturesque morning couple – Venus and Jupiter – snuggling up together in the ballroom of dawn for the next few days.

Bruce McClure