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Watch to See Venus and Saturn "Kiss" This Weekend in the Night Sky

Joseph Neese
Photo credit: Education Images - Getty Images

From House Beautiful

Grab your binoculars, because star watchers are in for an out-of-this-world treat this week when Venus and Saturn will appear to "kiss" each another in an infrequent astronomical event.

The two planets won't actually lock lips—or even touch. What you will witness is a conjunction, which NASA defines as "when two or more stars or planets appear to come close together in the sky." By "close," NASA means Venus and Saturn will be separated by no more than a few finger widths when you hold up your hand in the night sky.

This dance of the planets is not a fast show. It will take place over five nights, beginning on Dec. 9. Venus will appear less than two degrees from its neighbor on both Tuesday and Wednesday. To identify the cloud-swaddled planet, look southwest in the sky as evening twilight concludes. That's about 5:50 PM ET for Washington, D.C. residents, according to NASA.

Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Venus will rise high each day as the two planets skim by one another. Interestingly enough, what you will witness in the sky is impacted by Earth's orbit. "Some of the motion of the planets in the sky is due to Earth's own motion around the sun rather than the planets' motions themselves," NASA writes on its "Skywatching Tips" blog.

While Venus kissing Saturn is not rare, it is infrequent. The next time the planets will kiss is Feb. 6, 2021, but that conjunction will be "very difficult" to see, according to When Curves Line Up. You'll have to wait until March 29, 2022 to see this show so easily again, so look for it now if you can.

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