What is the Lovejoy Comet

Chronicle and astronomical highlights 2015

Tuesday
June 30th

Wednesday
July 1

VENUS - JUPITER - encounter

The two brightest planets in our solar system, Venus (evening star) and Jupiter, meet at a distance of less than half a degree. For comparison: the moon has a diameter of around 0.5 °. Only on August 27, 2016 will Venus and Jupiter come so close again.

Although the distance between the two planets in the sky is very small, they are spatially very far apart. At the moment Venus is 0.5 AU and Jupiter 6 AU from Earth.
(1 AU = distance from sun to earth, that's around 150 million km)
So Jupiter is around twelve times as far from Earth as Venus. On the other hand, the diameter of the largest planet in the solar system is nearly twelve times larger than the diameter of Venus. As a result, the two planetary disks appear roughly the same size in the telescope.

At low magnification you will be able to observe both planets in the telescope at the same time. In addition, all four Galilean moons Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto orbiting in the equatorial plane of Jupiter can be seen. The two dark bands of clouds can be seen on Jupiter. And Venus is now so far removed from its greatest eastern elongation that it shines like a beautiful, tiny sickle.

Opening hours:
To be able to observe this rare event, the sky must of course be clear of clouds.
Then the Isartalsternwarte has on these two evenings
open from 9:00 p.m.

And it was clear of clouds. Around 100 visitors did not miss this spectacle on the two evenings. As an encore, the ring planet Saturn was waiting. The three brightest and most beautiful planets in the sky - one cannot expect more.