Jupiter and Venus shine over North West

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Jupiter and Venus as pictured from Cheshire this morning. Pic © Peter Knight Twitter

Astronomy enthusiasts across the North West were treated to a cosmic phenomenon this morning.

Venus and Jupiter stood out shining brightly between 5:45 to 6:15am, as early risers across Merseyside were rewarded with a rare moment to savour.

Many stargazers took to social media, wondering how close the two planets were to each other.

Professor of Extra Galactic Astrophysics from Liverpool John Moores University, Phil James, told JMU Journalism: “Jupiter and Venus are the brightest things in our solar system, other than the Sun and Moon, and are normally visible to the naked eye.

“What we saw here was the illusion that the planets were close to each other… they were certainly not.

“What was visible was the alignment of the planets orbits, as viewed from Earth, were about a Moon’s diameter apart. Venus’ solar orbit (year) is much shorter than the Earth’s so in theory, this could happen often, It’s due to the orbital angles of the planets that makes this even such a rarity.”

So how rare was this celestial line up? Professor James explained: “It’s all down to the angles that the planets orbit the sun at. We will not see Jupiter and Venus at a similar proximity for many years. However, planets move extremely slowly, so is still worth looking out for tomorrow morning.”

Despite the rarity of the event, the planets will be visible once again tomorrow morning at dawn, providing skies stay clear which is equally as rare as an orbital conjunction.

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