Have you been watching Jupiter and Venus as they dance across the night sky? Ever since the beginning of June, the two brightest planets have been moving closer together, and will appear to merge into one huge super planet on the night of July 1st. (June 30 in the Northern Hemisphere.)
All you need to do is look to the west after sunset each night. You're looking for two really bright bodies close together - the brightest lights in the sky apart from the moon. The brightest is Venus. Jupiter appears a little less bright. Each night they get closer together.
Of course, Venus and Jupiter actually aren't getting any closer to each other. They're actually about 800 million kilometres apart. Wow. They appear closer to us because of how we see them in their respective orbits around the Sun. Since Jupiter is much further away from the sun than Venus, it takes much longer to complete a full rotation, and Venus occasionally laps it. They seem to get closer and closer, and appear to actually converge into a one big super planet.
Jemimah has been enjoying drawing the convergence into her science notebook, although we've missed a few nights due to cloud cover. She tries to locate the planets within known constellations where she can.This past weekend was extra special, when the moon and the two planets formed a triangle in the sky. They're the drawings you can see in her notebook above.
You can see the convergence in the night sky above Melbourne on Saturday night in the pic below. We were on our way to the ballet when hubby shot that wonderful photo. Most of our other photos are a little less picturesque, but that doesn't make it any less fun.
There's still time to watch the convergence yourself, if you haven't already. Head outside at sunset and look west. Then head out again tomorrow night and see if you can see the difference. Be sure to come back and tell me about it if you do.