Planetary Conjunction

Whatever else astronomy may or may not be who can doubt it to be the most beautiful of the sciences? ~Isaac Asimov, American writer and biochemistry professor

Venus (left) and Jupiter, early morning sky, May 1, 2022, looking east

I guess I’ve always been fascinated by outer space.

The stars and far away planets — and the possibility, slim though it might be, of life existing there — are the stuff of the science fiction books I immersed myself in as a youngster.

And while my reading preferences might have switched to mysteries, I still find myself looking up, up, up — daytime or night.

Imagine my delight when I read that our solar system’s two brightest planets (Venus and Jupiter) would appear exceptionally close together April 30-May 1 — something astronomers call a conjunction.

Despite their close appearance, the two actually are 430 million miles (692 million km) apart! Doesn’t that just boggle your mind??

My research tells me it’s been since August 2016 that Venus and Jupiter have looked this close together — six whole years! — despite the fact that they generally have one conjunction per year. Still, you’ll have to wait until March of next year to see them snuggling in the sky like this again.

So get outside and enjoy the show because it won’t last long. Eventually, Venus and Jupiter will gradually pull away from each other as they continue their orbits around the sun.

30 thoughts on “Planetary Conjunction

    • I missed it on Saturday because of rain, but I think there might still be time to see it a wee bit. I saw them again this morning early before sunup. Yes, they were farther apart, but you can still see them. You’ll just have to imagine them snuggling!

  1. Oh, you’re lucky to have seen it! It’s nearly always cloudy here (it’s nearly always raining!) and there’s loads of light pollution so I hardly ever catch a glimpse of any of these astronomical events.

    • I’m sorry you missed them, FF, but I know you’d enjoy seeing them … and imagining how many people across Earth are looking at just the same two planets! They’re farther apart now — I saw them again this morning, but I’d have liked seeing them even closer, if our weather had cooperated.

  2. I saw this and wondered why our local news people didn’t have a mention. It was / is spectacular show from my front porch. I saw it in the eastern sky rise. Typically I watch for the moon and occasionally I see Orion’s Belt, the seven sisters and the big and Little Dipper. That about all I know. I thought to myself that it might be Venus and Mars. So, thank you so much for writing about this!

    I follow Barbara’s blog. She has taught me so much about birds and her area where sh lives. Oddly enough, I clicked on your name, just now, and found my answer to my wonder about the two stars that I watched. It was beautiful to notice!

    • Hi TD, and welcome to my corner of the world! It’s always nice to meet new people. Barbara is great for teaching me about her area, too. Don’t you just love her birds? I’m glad I was able to tell you about these two planets. I take my dog outside very early so watching the still-dark sky is just something I enjoy while he’s nosing the ground for stray critters. Come back any time!

      • Hi Debbie! Are you planning or hoping to watch the full moon tonight? I’m an early riser and early to bed. I’m going to set my alarm for 10:30 p.m. to hope to see the red hues. Curious who else might be watching our universe in far away lands, together. Below is a post from our local metrologist, Allen Holt.

        “LUNAR ECLIPSE: There’s lunar eclipse Sunday night and it’ll be visible in Corpus Christi! A lunar eclipse happens when the Earth’s shadow is cast on the moon. The moon will take on a red hue as it passes through the Earth’s shadow – it looks red for the same reason that the sky is blue: preferential scattering of certain wavelengths of light. How cool! Skies will be clear enough for viewing, locally. Times for Corpus Christi are listed in image above.”

        • I wish I could’ve seen it, too, but we had cloudy skies and thunderstorms, so Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating. Hope the weather was more agreeable where you are!

  3. Debbie, how AWESOME that you were able to capture Venus and Jupiter early this morning!!!!

    Like you, I too have always had an interest in stars and far away planets. In fact, I remember watching a documentary with my mother when I was very young entitled, “Chariots of the Gods”, which was about life on other planets, and thinking to myself, “I BELEIVE IT!”

    This is why I believe in astrology and how our date of birth affects us by what position the various planets were in at the time of our birth. Astrology is a science. Which those who study it, study it in depth.

    “Despite their close appearance, the two actually are 430 million miles (692 million km) apart! Doesn’t that just boggle your mind??”

    Yes, boggles my mind indeed!

    Thanks so much for sharing this special moment, my friend! Enjoyed! X

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, Ron. When I take Monkey outside to do his business, I always look up at the still-dark sky, try to ID constellations and planets, and, of course, watch for hawks that might bother a little, furry dog. Seeing these two planets, I remembered a TV report about them and raced back inside for the camera.

      I often wish I’d had room in my class schedule in college to slip in an astronomy course. I think it would’ve been fascinating!

      Enjoy your week, my friend. It’s going to be mostly rainy and windy here. Again. xx

    • I’m glad I was able to capture them for you to enjoy, Laurie! Apparently, they’re not as close as they were the previous evening, but it was raining then.

  4. Exciting sighting and mind-boggling distances to contemplate. The universe is such a beautiful mystery! Thank you for sharing this picture — most of the time it’s too cloudy here to catch these astronomical events.

    • Oh, Barbara, I empathize. I understand from research that the previous night actually would’ve made a better picture, but we had rain then so Venus and Jupiter were no-shows. At least I was able to get them at all — not terribly easy when Monkey was trying to get my attention, ha!

  5. I’m so glad you posted about this. I sometimes catch news about planetary events before they happen, but I’d missed this. If it’s clear tonight, I’ll be sure to take a look. There’s so much light pollution here that the constellations and such can be hard to find, but the planets manage to shine through it all — unless there are clouds!

    • Oh, Linda, I do hope you were able to see them! I saw them again this morning, but true to reports, they were farther apart. Still, it’s a sight that doesn’t disappoint.

    • Well, they’d have been closer if I’d been able to see them the day before, but I still think the picture I got wasn’t half-bad! It was quite spectacular, all things considered.

  6. I can never keep track of which planets are where, but I do enjoy looking up into the sky. I love the nights that Katie makes me go out really late and the sky is clear and the stars are going on forever.

    • Oh, Dawn, I so agree. That might be the one positive thing about having a dog who thinks he’s got to get up with the chickens! I’ve finally gotten Monkey’s schedule so that he can sleep until 5 a.m. or so, but he won’t snooze any longer. I guess it could be worse — he could insist on getting me up at 4!

    • Thank you, Linda — I don’t know if I’m as knowledgeable as he is, but I suspect I could learn a lot from reading his posts. And learning is never a waste of time, right?!

      • Exactly, and he’s as approachable as they come. He used to teach high school, and he doesn’t think any question is silly or stupid. I email him from time to time to ask about things, and he’s really helpful — he can talk about these things on our level, too!

  7. I wish I’d read your blog post earlier, Debbie, and looked up in the night skies. But we were visiting our son and wife out in New Jersey. This star-stuff is fascinating.

    • Kathy, I think you might still be able to see them early (like 5 o’clock, before the sun comes up). They just won’t be as close as they appeared back around April 30. In fact, I saw them this morning! If you imagine a clock face around them, Venus is the bright one, and Jupiter is somewhere around the “10 minutes after the hour” location.

  8. I’m late to the show, but I’m thinking it might have been cloudy here because I have a morning practice of watching the sky lighten and brighten at sunrise (and watch it again at sunset). Otherwise, I might have taken note note of it. I think the stars and planets and all the space stuff is fascinating, too. 🙂

    • Having an early morning dog helps to get me outdoors, ha! He watches for cats, rabbits, and such while I scan the skies. So much beauty around us!

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