BIG CELESTIAL EVENT:
A sight worth seeing!
 
The two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, are coming close together and pass each other (a conjunction)at the end of the month. Look south and a little to the west after sunset (4 o’clock) and, quite low in the sky, you’ll see a bright star (Venus) and a fainter one (Jupiter). As it gets dark, the two will start to dazzle – but you’ll need a pretty clear horizon to follow them.
 
With a pair of good binoculars the pair will look even prettier.
 
You should see Jupiter’s disc (it won’t be a star-like point) and its four main moons: Ganymede, Europa, Io and Callisto.
 
Venus will look a bit smaller – but brighter. See if you can make out its moon-like phase – the planet will look like a bulging half-moon (gibbous phase)
 
The conjunction comes to a climax on Monday, December 1st. The crescent moon will PASS IN FRONT OF Venus (an occultation) from 3.38 pm to 5.09 pm.
The occultation starts in daylight but if you can find the moon, then with binoculars you should be able to see Venus just to the left, and follow it as the moon passes in front.
 
This leaves Jupiter on its own above the moon until, from 5.08 pm (watch carefully!) Venus will gradually reappear on the moon’s right side.
 
Venus and Jupiter will separate day by day after that. Jupiter will get lower and lower in the sky before it disappears around the other side of the Sun, but Venus will get higher and higher in the evening sky, reaching its highest in January.
 
This is definitely an event well worth your while looking out for!
 
It would also be well worth my while giving you a quick lesson in altitude.
  • Distances in the sky are measured in DEGREES (°).
  • From the horizon to right overhead (the zenith) is 90°.
Some distances:
  • Your fist at arm’s length is about 10° across.
  • Your opened hand from thumb to pinkie is about 20°.
  • Your index finger is about 12° long, the sections are 6°, 2° and 1° from knuckle to tip

Any further queries to myself, or search the Internet for more reliable (!) info.

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