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Washington (AFP) March 12, 2012
An unusual opportunity to see two of the brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, appear to be right next to each other in the night sky is peaking in the next two days, astronomers said.
On a clear night from March 12-14, skywatchers may extend an arm and see the two planets look as though they are a couple fingers' width apart, or about three degrees, even though they are actually quite far from one another in space.
The brighter of the pair will be Venus because it gets light from the Sun that is twice as bright as Earth gets and 50 times more intense than the sunlight that shines on Jupiter, according to Sky & Telescope magazine.
Venus is also seven times closer to Earth than Jupiter, which is the bigger of the two and may appear to be about twice the size of Venus.
After the 14 of March, Jupiter will drop lower until it is eventually invisible after sunset by mid-April.
The moon enters the picture on March 25 and 26, with its thin crescent shape appearing to nearly kiss Jupiter the first night, particularly in North America, and Venus the second.
Live shots of the planets in the night sky are being captured by the Slooh telecope project and aired on http://events.slooh.com.
Astronomy News from Skynightly.com
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