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Grab your binoculars this weekend: Venus and Jupiter won't be this close to each other for another 50 years

Stargazers will want to dig out their binoculars and telescopes this weekend as Venus and Jupiter shine so close that they appear as one large, bright star in the evening sky.

Saturday's event, called a conjunction, is a rather common event and occurs when two objects in the night sky, such as planets, appear close to each other before they start to drift apart.

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Conjunctions of Venus and Jupiter happen multiple times every decade; however, what will make Saturday's conjunction so uncommon is how close the two planets will appear.

Venus and Jupiter will be so close to each other in the night sky that some people may mistake them for one single star.

The next time that Venus and Jupiter will be this close to each other will be nearly 50 years from now in November of 2065.

How to view the conjunction

As long as the weather cooperates, the best time to view the conjunction will be 30 to 60 minutes after sunset on Saturday evening. Those who wait until later in the night to try and view the conjunction may miss it as the planets will set before it is completely dark outside.

People hoping to view the celestial event will also need to have a clear view of the western horizon as the planets will not be high in the sky.

Stargazers will be in for an added treat as Mercury will also be visible near Venus and Jupiter, making for a trio of planets in close proximity in the evening sky.

Mercury may be difficult to spot, especially since it is not nearly as bright as Venus and Jupiter.


While the conjunction will be visible around the world, the best viewing conditions are in store for those across the Southern Hemisphere.

This is because the planets will appear higher in the evening sky and will be visible for longer before they set for the night. Additionally, Mercury will be higher in the sky, making it easier for those in the Southern Hemisphere to spot the trio of planets.

There will many more conjunctions of Venus and Jupiter between now and 2065, but the conjunction of the two planets in 2065 will be particularly rare.

On Nov. 22, 2065, Venus will pass directly between the Earth and Jupiter, in an event called an occultation. It is extremely rare and only happens once every few hundred years. The last occultation of Venus and Jupiter occurred in 1818. The 2065 event will be almost impossible to view with the naked eye as it will occur during the daytime and in close proximity to the sun.