Rick Fienberg shot June 30th's epic planet pairing with an 80-mm f/6 Explore Scientific refractor and a Canon Rebel T3i camera at ISO 400. He combined a short exposure (1⁄160 s) that showed Venus and Jupiter well with a longer, 0.8-s exposure that brought out Jupiter’s moons (from left to right: Ganymede, Io and Europa merged, and Callisto). The field of view is 2⁄3° across.
For the last few weeks, countless numbers of the world’s 7 billion people watched the western evening sky as the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, edged closer and closer to one another. Last night, June 30th, they reached their least separation: 0.3° apart (at the time of twilight for the Americas).
But this celestial dance is far from over. Tonight Venus and Jupiter will still be only about 0.6° apart, as seen from the Americas, and 1.0° tomorrow night. Then they start to say goodbye and will journey apart as they sink deeper into the afterglow of sunset throughout July.
We’ve been lavished with lovely photos from our readers and thought we’d share a few below. Check out our online Photo Gallery to see them all, and submit your own.
Enjoy the show, both here and by eye outside!
Jupiter, Venus, and the waxing crescent Moon on June 19th, taken by Mario_RSC in Toledo, Spain, with an Olympus SP520.
Sunset celestial show by Jeff Dai, taken in Yamdrok Lake, Tibet, on June 21st with a Canon 6D camera and Nikkor 14-24mm lens.
Venus and Jupiter close to conjunction shine above Saint Peter’s in Rome, by Gianluca Masi on June 29th. Taken with a Canon 7D Mark II and a 17-55mm lens.
Venus and Jupiter Close Conjunction at Dusk by Adam Hazique Zakwan Luhat, taken in Belaga, Sarawak, Malaysia, on June 30th, the evening of the closest pairing. The photographer used a Sony NEX-5 camera with 18-50 mm zoom lens, and a Celestron 70-mm f/5.6 telescope for the close up.
Venus and Jupiter at Twilight by Frankie Lucena, in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, on June 30th. Taken with an Olympus 3000 mounted on a tripod.
Venus-Jupiter by firstname.lastname@example.org, taken from Urmia, Iran, on June 30th with a 150-mm Newtonian reflector and Canon 60D camera.