Sky-gazers across the globe can witness a glimpse of a rare astronomical event on Sunday afternoon when planets Venus and Jupiter will appear side by side as 'two points of light' after sunset. This planetary conjunction will be visible to the naked eye in the south-west direction at around 4.30 pm.
Astronomer Tania de Sales Marques, the Royal Observatory Greenwich, told Guernsey Press that the planets will be at a distance of about 1.2 degrees from each other.
"Two points of light have been adorning the south-western sky just around sunset and to the avid observer they might appear to be moving closer every day," the astronomer said. "These points of light are in fact the planets Venus and Jupiter and they will come closest together in the sky on November 24."
Planets to come closest to each other
The planets, which are hundreds of millions of miles apart from each other, will appear closest and form a nearly straight line with the Earth. In astronomy, this rare cosmic event is known as a syzygy.
Jupiter is almost 559 million miles away, while Venus is at a distance of 56 million miles from our planet. According to astronomer de Sales Marques, Venus will look the brighter of the two, appearing just south of Jupiter. She said, "As the planets will be setting soon after sunset they will appear very low in the sky, so one will have to find somewhere with an unobstructed view of the horizon and face the south-west direction."
She further went on to say that the Moon will set early as sunset will occur at 16:00. So according to the astronomer, the best time to spot the planets will be around 16:30.
When can you see it again?
Apart from this, the sky-enthusiasts will also be able to catch a glimpse another planet further up in the sky. Astronomer de Sales Marques said: "If you look towards the south and a little bit higher in the sky, you will also be able to see Saturn trailing behind Jupiter and Venus."
The astronomer reassured that there is nothing to worry if someone misses the conjunction as the planets will remain close to each other for a few more days. Thus, this will be an eventful experience for the sky-gazers as Venus and Jupiter will not coincide in this manner again until February 2021.