In June, Venus and Jupiter will “tango” towards each other. The two Celestial Bodies are the brightest objects on the night sky excluding the Moon.
30 minutes after sundown on any night of June, the two planets race will be highly visible.
First drawing towards each other, the planets will be closest around the date of June 30 and July 1’Th. After the closest conjunction between the two, they will continue moving eastwards.
In order to better visualize the path of these Celestial Bodies, consider taking the Regulus star as a point of reference. Venus and Jupiter orbit the sun at what seems from Earth as almost the same plane, thus a line can be imaginably drawn between their two path’s and following the direction in which they move eastwards you will find the star Regulus.
Drawing an imaginary line between Jupiter, Venus and Regulus, you can observe as first Jupiter will be closest with Venus behind on the same ellipsis.
However as the days pass Venus will draw closer and closer to Jupiter and then overpass it. This is due to the speed at which the two planets orbit the Sun and their orbital paths around the Sun.
While Jupiter orbits at approximately 13 kilometers a second, Venus travels at around 35 kilometers a second! Venus has a much closer orbit to the Sun and thus a smaller distance to circumnavigate.
Jupiter has to travel seven times the distance of Venus’s orbit length, in order to complete a tour around the Sun.
On July 18 2005 Venus will be closest to Regulus and will already have past Jupiter. Another event expected by sky watchers on July 18 is the cluster that will form between the Moon (brightest object on the sky), Jupiter and Venus (second and third brightest) and Regulus.
This cluster is formed by Venus passing Jupiter and standing closest to Regulus while the Moon appears on the other side of with Venus in the middle.
The beautiful race between Venus and Jupiter will be observable throughout June and at the end of the month their close proximity will be a great occasion for stunning photography and observation.
Image Source: earthsky.org