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Venus, Jupiter conjunction: The brightest planets to meet up in Monday morning sky

By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
November 12, 2017, 1:30:17 PM EST

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Jupiter and Venus will pair up in the sky on Monday morning, shining brightly together shortly before sunrise.

The two planets will appear so close together that they may look like they are just one bright star rather than two planets.

This is the closest these two planets will appear all year, an astronomical event known as a conjunction.

conjunction nov 11

Venus and Jupiter may appear very close to each other in the morning sky, but they are actually more than 400 million miles away from each other.

Venus and Jupiter will rise together about one hour before sunrise in the eastern sky, but they will remain low on the horizon.

The planets will be visible for around an hour before the light from the rising sun becomes too bright to spot the planets.

A telescope isn’t needed to see the planets as they are two of the brightest planets in the night sky. However, a telescope or a pair of high-powered binoculars focused on Jupiter will reveal the planet's colorful bands of clouds, as well as its four largest moons.

Those planning to use a telescope or binoculars during the event should use caution since the sun will be rising in the same part of the sky as Venus and Jupiter. Looking at the sun through a telescope or binoculars can lead to serious eye damage without the proper solar filters.

Mars will also be visible to the east before sunrise on Monday, appearing about halfway between Jupiter and the crescent moon. Mars is visible with the naked eye and appears slightly red compared to the stars around it.

Mon AM Viewing Map 11.12 PM

The best viewing conditions in the United States early on Monday morning will be across the Mississippi Valley and over the interior West where skies will be mainly clear.

Clouds will obscure the conjunction for many other areas of the country; however, there may be enough breaks in the clouds in the central and northern Plains and the Southwest for people to spot the planets.

Venus and Jupiter will still appear close to each other on the days leading up to and following the conjunction, so if clouds block the event on Monday, onlookers can wake up early to view them before sunrise on another day.

However, the two planets won’t be quite as close as they will appear on Monday in the morning sky on days before and after the conjunction.

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As Jupiter and Venus drift apart in the sky over the next several weeks, Jupiter and Mars will appear come closer together gradually.

The two planets will eventually meet in the sky on Jan. 6, 2018, before sunrise, appearing almost as close as Jupiter and Venus will on Monday morning.

The conjunction of these two planets will be visible to the southeast for several hours before sunrise and will be much higher in the sky.

The next conjunction of Venus and Jupiter will not happen until Jan. 22, 2019.

Questions or comments? Email Brian Lada at Brian.Lada@accuweather.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter!

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