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Venus And Jupiter Headed For 'Dramatic Conjunction'

Cincinnati Observatory
The Cincinnati Observatory's sky simulation software shows what the view may look like Saturday night through one of the observatory's telescopes. The smaller dots near Jupiter are its moons. To the naked eye, Venus and Jupiter will appear to touch.

If you see "two suspiciously bright lights" in the sky Saturday night, don't be alarmed, you're seeing a very rare astronomical event.Venus and Jupiter are on course for what the Cincinnati Observatory's Dean Regas calls a "dramatic planetary conjunction." That means the planets will pass so close together they'll nearly appear to touch.

"Last summer they had a pretty close pass, but this one is going to be exceptionally close," says Regas. "They're getting closer day by day by day. They look like these two alien lights, like UFOs in the Western sky as the sun sets."

The conjunction, Regas says, is very rare. "Nothing this close is going to happen for a long, long time."

You'll need a clear view of the Western horizon to see the planetary conjunction.

"It'll be happening very low in the sky so any trees or buildings could get in your way," Regas says. "You also have to time it just right because sunset in Cincinnati on Saturday is going to be about 8:15 p.m. and you can't be too late, so, somewhere about 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. would be the best viewing time."

Regas says Mars and Saturn are also at conjunction, but still not as close as Venus and Jupiter will be.

He recommends a park overlook for the best view. The Cincinnati Observatory is also having a viewing event.