Brilliant Venus and bright Jupiter had their closest approach on June 30. In the coming days they will gradually grow farther and farther apart, but remain a lovely sight in the evening twilight sky for many nights to come.
I viewed the duo in bright twilight from my home in downtown Victoria, British Columbia, with a small telescope. The fat crescent Venus was startlingly bright, while Jupiter appeared almost ghostly by comparison. The Jovian disc was crossed by twin dark equatorial belts and flanked by its four bright moons — three on one side, one on the other. As it happens, during the conjunction, Jupiter and Venus displayed the same apparent size. Even though Jupiter is roughly 12 times larger than Venus, at the moment it’s also about 12 times farther from the Earth.
If you missed out on this event, don’t despair. The two planets meet up again in the morning sky on October 25, though they’ll be twice as far apart. Venus and Jupiter won’t be as close again until August 27, 2016, when they’ll be only 4 arc minutes apart! Unfortunately, that meeting will be difficult to observe from Canadian latitudes since the planets will be low in the sky in bright twilight.