If you're an early riser, you probably noticed Venus sparkling high in pre-dawn sky some time during the last few months of 2007. Venus has been getting lower and lower every morning throughout January. But it's still more than 10° (one fist-width) above the eastern horizon a half hour before sunrise if you live at mid-northern latitudes. And the planet is so brilliant that it appears spectacular even after the sky has grown so bright that you can read by its light.Just a few days ago, I noticed that another bright light had appeared lower-left of Venus. This is Jupiter, the fourth-brightest object in the sky after the Sun, Moon, and Venus. Jupiter is dazzling in any other context, but it appears almost feeble next to Venus's overwhelming brilliance.
Every morning the view changes radically. Venus is getting rapidly lower and Jupiter higher, with the two approaching each other at a rate of 1° per day. It's quite a show!
At their closest approach, on the morning of February 1st, the two planets will be slightly over ½° apart. That's close enough to fit easily in a single telescopic field at 50×. And at that magnification, you can easily see the disks of both planets, together with at least three of Jupiter's four brightest moons. (Io passes in front of the planet at 5:52 a.m. PST, and will probably be invisible after that.)
Make sure that you take a look if the sky is even halfway clear. You don't even have to get up all that early 6 a.m. should give you plenty of time at most locations.