Venus and Jupiter Conjunction: Planets to almost touch in night sky

Venus and Jupiter will be millions of miles apart, but from Earth they will appear close to colliding. This planetary conjunction happens annually but this year they will appear much closer than usual.

The same spectacle won't occur again like this until 2039. Just the naked eye or binoculars should be enough to see it in a clear sky.

After Saturday, the two planets will go their separate ways as they drift apart in the coming days.

"It's very exciting for astronomers and it's a really great opportunity for people to get out and have a look," explains space scientist and chief stargazer at the Society for Popular Astronomy Prof Lucie Green.

A conjunction is when two planets appear close together or even touching in the Earth's night sky. In the days running up to Saturday, Venus and Jupiter have been gradually coming together in the sky.

What is a planetary conjunction?

The actual orbit of the planets are about 430 million miles apart but their apparent alignment seen from Earth gives the illusion that they are touching.

"The planets will differ in their brightness. Venus is brighter than Jupiter so it will look dazzlingly bright when you see it. Jupiter will be slightly fainter, about one-sixth of the brightness of Venus," explains Prof Green.

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