SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Two of the brightest five planets in the evening sky will come together at sundown early Wednesday evening to create what one astronomer refers to as, ‘spooky eyes.’
As Jupiter moves closer to the horizon and Venus appears to climb higher into the night sky, both will appear closest together on March, 1st in an event known as a conjunction.
“Sky-watchers in San Antonio are in for a spectacular sight in the evening sky. I am sure your listeners have seen two bright objects in the west after sunset. These are Jupiter and Venus – the brightest planets in our solar system. Over the next few nights, their dance will bring them closer together (visually) and on the night of March 1, look like two spooky eyes staring back at you. They will be separated by the width of the full moon,” said Gary Boyle, known as The Backyard Astronomer.
Jupiter and Venus will meet in a small area of the sky about the width of the full moon, and Boyle likens the appearance to something you might see in a children’s cartoon.
“I have personally dubbed this event as the ‘spooky eyes.’ Back in January of 1971, I had the chance to observe the somewhat close conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky. Seeing the two brightest planets of our solar system, reminded me of a Bugs Bunny cartoon with eyes peering from the darkness. But in light of current events, I will say with certainty these are not weather balloons or UFOs,” said Boyle.
Even though Jupiter and Venus will appear to be side-by-side, it is mind-blowing to consider the actual distance these planets will be from planet Earth. As of early Wednesday evening, Venus will be more than 126 million miles (204 million km) from our planet, while Jupiter will be more than 536 million miles (864 million) from Earth.
This unique conjunction between Venus and Jupiter might be rare, but it is not altogether uncommon. The two planets came together to make ‘spooky eyes’ three times in the year 2015, and the last time they joined up was April 30, 2022.
Should you miss this particular conjunction, your next chance to see Jupiter and Venus in such close proximity will be just before dawn on August 12, 2025.
Known as “The Backyard Astronomer”, Gary Boyle is an astronomy educator, guest speaker, monthly columnist for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada as well as a STEM educator. He has been interviewed on more than 55 Canadian radio stations as well as television across Canada and the U.S. In recognition of his public outreach in astronomy, the International Astronomical Union has honoured him with the naming of Asteroid (22406) Garyboyle. Follow him on Twitter: @astroeducator, Facebook and his website: www.wondersofastronomy.com