Something very rare is happening in the sky before dawn

First published in Opinion The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

Cross your fingers really hard for clear skies next Sunday, Monday and Tuesday mornings, because something very rare is happening in the north east before dawn that you won't want to miss: two bright planets are going to be shining so close together that they'll both fit in binoculars.

On Sunday morning, around 4.30am, look to the north east and you'll see a pair of bright ‘stars’ very close together just above the horizon. The higher and brighter of the two is the planet Venus, currently a ‘morning star,’ and Jupiter will be to its lower left. The next morning they will have moved even closer together, almost appearing to touch, and will look spectacular in binoculars or a small telescope. By the next morning they will have pulled apart again, with Jupiter now the higher of the pair, but will still be very close.

As an added bonus, if you look at this conjunction through binoculars you'll notice the planets are passing a famous star cluster known as The Beehive Cluster.

Stuart Atkinson, Eddington AS of Kendal

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