Back in April and May we saw Venus pass Uranus and Neptune making for badly mismatched conjunctions. This week it will be Jupiter, the only planet able to shine brightly enough to make a good pairing for Venus.
Today the pair are drawing close, currently separated by 5.5°. Close approach will occur on the 17th when the pair will rise in the dawn separated by only 35′. The closest approach will happen well after sunrise in the islands, about 18:06HST at a separation of a mere 12′, easily close enough to fit in the same telescopic field. The major challenge here is that the conjunction will occur only 17° from the Sun.
Venus will outshine Jupiter by over a magnitude, -3.9 compared to Jupiter’s -1.8 magnitude. The sizes will be comparable as well. Venus will be smaller at only 10.3″ compared to Jupiter’s 31.6″ across at the equator.
In an odd twist, this conjunction will occur on the edge of the Beehive cluster, M44. The cluster is not likely to be very visible given the advent of dawn, but it will be there.