Dramatic sky sight: Venus, Jupiter to converge on June 30

Washington: A dramatic sight awaits the sky-gazers on June 30 as the two most brightest planets in the solar system, Venus and Jupiter, converge in the night sky.

At the beginning of June, the two planets were 20 degrees apart in the sky, about twice the width of your fist held at arm’s length.

On the evenings of June 19 and 20, one will find Venus soon after sunset well up in the west.

Adding to the scene is a thin crescent Moon, under the planets on the 19th, and left of them on the 20th. The view will be most dramatic on the 20th, when the two planets and the Moon will be bunched closely enough to cover with your fist.

The two planets will reach their closest point at the end of the month.

Although they’ll appear near one another, they’re actually not. The Moon is closest to Earth, just 247,000 miles away. Venus is 56 million miles from Earth, and Jupiter is 10 times farther out at just over 550 million miles.

The two planets will spend eight evenings within 2 degrees of each other from June 27th through July 4th. Astronomers refer to a close celestial pair-up like this as a “conjunction.”