Just like lovers approaching each other for an eventual embrace, planets Venus and Jupiter will appear to move closer to each other starting Sunday night through the planetary conjunction that will take place on June 30.
The astronomical event can be seen each night all throughout June and will unfold after dusk in the western sky. For stargazers who want to witness this cosmic phenomenon, the two planets will be the brightest star-like objects that can be seen in the night sky.
Those in urban areas are also in the luck because the two planets getting closer each night can be seen even from the most light-polluted locations. By the end of the month and into July, the two planets will appear to culminate their celestial hug.
Earth's neighboring planet Venus will appear much brighter compared with Jupiter. When viewed through a small telescope, Venus will seem like a bright and cloud-covered half-moon eventually becoming crescent shaped as the end of the month approaches.
Just like the moon, Venus undergoes shape changes because its orbit of the sun also lies within our planet's orbit and the angle between Venus, Earth and the sun changes.
Skywatchers may also be able to see up to four of Jupiter's moons, which look like tiny stars, as well as cloud bands that stretch across the planet.
Although stargazing will be washed out because of moonlight most of this week, it is expected to be better by next week. The full moon will help sky gazers find Saturn in the southeastern sky early in the evening this week.
On Monday evening, the moon can be seen just to Saturn's lower right. On Tuesday, the lunar disk will be to the upper left with Saturn appearing as the brightest star-like object.
Also by early next week, Venus will have moved away from the star Pollux in the Gemini constellation and deep into the constellation Cancer. Jupiter, on the other hand, moves from Cancer and into Leo.
The two planets will only be a few degrees apart on the azimuth by the middle of June. Starting June 24, Jupiter and Venus with spend several days within planetary arm's length and Venus will appear brighter at magnitude -4.6. By the last day of the month, the two planets will be within a third of a degree of each other and will spend July separating.
Photo: Wendy | Flickr