Halfway through August there has been a supermoon and the annual Perseid meteor shower and Monday sees another exciting astronomical event: Venus and Jupiter have been inching closer for the last few days and in the pre-dawn hours, the two planets will be less than a degree apart, NASA reports.
The Venus-Jupiter conjunction, or act of coming together, began on Friday, with the two planets around two degrees apart in the sky. NASA, breaking it down in more practical terms, said the two planets were close enough in the sky to be blocked out by the palm of one's hand. Early Monday, Venus and Jupiter will be close enough that one's pinkie will be enough to block out the sixth-largest and largest planets in the solar system. Observers will not need a telescope but binoculars can add to the viewing as the two planets will be near the Beehive Cluster, an open cluster of stars near the constellation of Cancer.
Venus will be the brighter of the two planets, about six times brighter than Jupiter, NASA said. The planets will appear near the horizon and stargazers can find the Venus-Jupiter conjunction by looking east, EarthSky said. Monday's conjunction will be the closest planet-planet conjunction in 2014 and Earthsky recommends waking up 90 minutes before sunrise to catch the event. Venus and Jupiter will drift apart through the week but another alignment will be worth waking up early for, a "cosmic triangle." A crescent moon will line up with Jupiter and Venus Saturday to form a triangle in the pre-dawn sky.
A video detailing the Venus-Jupiter conjunction, courtesy of NASA, can be viewed below.