Written by David Reneke
Venus and Jupiter will share the same right ascension, with Venus passing 2°26′ to the north of Jupiter. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse
We know the termbetter as a ‘Conjunction’. From NSW the pair will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 2.43am (AEDT) – 3 hours and 23 minutes before the Sun – and reach an altitude of 35° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 5:48am. This will be a STUNNING sight! Venus will be at mag -4.3, and Jupiter at mag -1.9, both in the constellation Ophiuchus. The pair will easily fit within the field of view of a wide field view telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.
How do I see it? OK, well before sunrise January 22, 2019 look eastward or in the general direction of sunrise to see the conjunction of the planets Venus and Jupiter in the predawn/dawn sky. At conjunction, these two brilliant worlds shine beside one another on the sky’s dome. You simply can’t miss these two brilliant beauties, because Venus and Jupiter rank as the 3rd-brightest and 4th-brightest celestial bodies, respectively, after the sun and moon.
Of course, Venus and Jupiter are not actually close together in space. They just happen to reside along the same line of sight at conjunction. The king planet Jupiter is about 7.5 times Venus’ distance from Earth. Click here if you’d like to know the present distances of the solar system planets from the Earth and sun in astronomical units. You simply can’t mistake Venus for Jupiter, or vice versa, because Venus is by far the brighter of these two brilliant worlds.
Conjunctions of Venus and Jupiter are quite stunning because these two worlds reign as the two most brilliant starlike points of light in the heavens. Generally, a conjunction of Venus and Jupiter happens happens once a year. But this year, in 2019, we actually have two of them. Venus and Jupiter will meet up for another fine conjunction in the evening sky on November 24, 2019.
Not all Venus-Jupiter conjunctions are equal, however. The upcoming morning conjunction on January 22, 2019, is especially favorable because Venus is about as far as it can get from the rising sun (46 degrees west of the sun). By way of example, we allude to the Venus-Jupiter conjunction on August 21, 2003, which happened only one degree away from the sun, so that Venus-Jupiter conjunction in 2003 was totally lost in the sun’s glare.
Amazingly enough, it looks as though very similar Venus-Jupiter conjunctions recur in periods of about 24 years plus one week. Looking backward and forward, we find this series of Venus/Jupiter conjunctions taking place on nearly the same spot upon the zodiac (near the star Antares), with Jupiter passing to the south of Venus.
What’s more, these Venus/Jupiter conjunctions on January 14, 1995; January 22, 2019 and January 29, 2043, find Venus near its greatest elongation from the rising sun at each of these conjunctions. Enjoy the Venus-Jupiter conjunction in the predawn/dawn sky on January 22, 2019, as these two bright worlds meet each other at a near-maximum elongation from the sun. Adapted: Space.Com