The gradual changes that occur in the night sky are generally imperceptible to all but the most thorough observer. So at special times like this week, when we have a close-encounter of two of the brightest objects in the sky, we are able to see the grand pace of the Solar System at work in our own backyards. Jupiter and Venus, the two brightest objects in the night sky after the Sun and Moon, reach conjunction this week and fill the western sky with their brilliance. The chart shows the relative change each night, as Venus, much closer to the Earth, swings around in its orbit higher into our evening sky, while distant Jupiter drops a bit lower each night in comparison. It's one of those times that it will be very obvious and easy to see the change of planetary position from one night to the next.
In 2005 I began writing a column for the San Francisco Waldorf School newsletter called "The Urban Astronomer." I started this blog in 2007 as a place to archive my articles and to offer additional insights on the night sky - even if you live in a big city. In 2008 I became an occasional guest on the KFOG Morning Show, and more recently on KALW and KGO. Archived shows are posted on the blog.