Sky chart showing Venus and Saturn

Stargazers and young astronomers witness a rare celestial conjugation on Sunday as Venus the planet of love courted the ringed Saturn.

Venus is bright in part because it comes closer to Earth than any other planet. Saturn is the most distant world that one can easily see with the unaided eye. These two bright pinpoints in our twilight sky are two very different kinds of worlds. Venus is a rocky planet like Earth, and Saturn is a gas giant. At mid northern latitudes, Venus and Saturn stay out a bit longer than 2 hours after sundown. Venus’ orbit lies inside the Earth’s orbit, at about seven-tenths the Earth’s distance from the sun. Saturn resides in the solar system’s hinterlands, its oblong orbit is at 9 to 10 times the Earth’s distance from the sun. The first four planets from the sun – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – are all terrestrial or rocky planets. The outer four planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – are all gas giants.


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