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Venus over Jupiter this morning

As mentioned, Venus and Jupiter are very close to one another for a few days - when his photo was taken, they were less than a degree apart. Venus is the brighter of the pair. (Click for a larger image.)

In the earlier entry I mentioned how viewing this little dance over the next few days can give you a real sense of movement within the solar system. It also stands as a good illustration of how the Sun and Moon look much larger to us than they really are. Both actually cover about half a degree of sky. That means you could almost fit two full moons ( or two suns) between Venus and Jupiter as they appeared this morning!

Looking at the photo it's hard to get this perspective - but if you look at the two in the sky it is very hard to imagine even one full moon fitting between them. That is because we frequently see the full moon near the horizon and to us it looks huge. Even high in the sky, it's brightness makes it look far larger than it is. There are some common sense explanations for this, but it's still hard to believe.

Venus and Jupiter will be about the same distance apart tomorrow, but Venus will be below Jupiter. The gap will then grow larger each day until Venus gets too close to the Sun for us to see and Jupiter will appear much higher in our morning sky.


Posted by Greg Stone at November 4, 2004 07:35 AM