How to Observe the Upcoming Venus and Jupiter Conjunction
During the early morning of February 11 2021 it will be possible to observe a close conjunction between Venus and Jupiter. While the two planets will be very bright (Venus will shine as magnitude -3.88 and Jupiter -1.95), the observation of this phenomenon will be particularly challenging because the two planets will be separated from the Sun by less than 15 degrees.
Here we list some useful tips, in case you'd like to give it a try:
1) You will need a place with a free eastern horizon. For a visual observation, you'll need to be able to spot the two planets while the Sun is still below the horizon. For this reason you will need to find a location from where you can freely observe the Eastern horizon without any obstacle.
2) The lower your latitude, the better the chances of a successful observation. This is because, at lower latitudes, the apparent inclination of the ecliptic with respect to the horizon will be greater. This means that, when the Sun will rise, the two planets will be higher above the horizon. The two images below show the difference very clearly.
The first image below shows how the two planets will look like from Kampala, Uganda, which is very close to the equator. From here the two planets will rise more than 30 minutes before the Sun and will be 9 degrees above the horizon when the Sun will rise.
The second image below shows how the two planets will look like when observer from London, 51 degrees latitude North. From here the two planets will rise about 15 minutes before the sun, and will be extremely low when the Sun will rise.
Getting celestial coordinates for Jupiter and Venus
In case you would like to locate the two planets in the sky via their celestial coordinates, you can use TheSkyLive online planetarium to get them. Please use the following links to locate the planets in the planetarium and then adjust the time control to match your observation time to obtain the coordinates:
- Jupiter: https://theskylive.com/planetarium?obj=jupiter
- Venus: https://theskylive.com/planetarium?obj=venus
(Published on February 1, 2021)