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How and when to watch the Jupiter-Venus conjunction in Australia




Jupiter and Venus will appear very close together in the night sky on Thursday, with the two planets set to pass each other in what’s known as a conjunction.

Jupiter will appear to shift westward, while a bright Venus will seem to move slowly in the other direction, NASA said.

Both planets have been moving closer towards each other over the past several days however they will appear the closest in Australia tonight, according to Matt Woods from the Perth Observatory.

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Woods said conjunctions happen frequently and that “Jupiter and Venus usually get very close to each other every 13 months or so”.

“They’ve been tracking towards each other for a while now,” he said.

According to NASA, a conjunction is a celestial event where either two planets, a planet and the moon or a planet and a star appear close together in the sky.

They frequently occur because the celestial bodies orbit around the sun in approximately the same plane as one another and trace similar paths across our sky.

Conjunctions have no particular astronomical significance but they are striking to view and are visible to the naked eye, meaning anyone and everyone can enjoy the spectacle.

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“The good thing about these things is that it is free, people can get hooked on space and Astronomy, kids can get hooked on space and Astronomy by looking at these simple little Astronomy events,” Woods said.

The best time to view the conjunction across Australia is just after sunset about 7.30pm.

The weather will not play a huge factor in its visibility with Woods saying it will not matter if it’s cloudy.