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Venus and Jupiter set to collide: Everything you need to know for June 30, 2015; Ahead of of Jupiter and Venus converging on June 30, here is everything you need to know about the incredible planetary event.

Byline: Sarah Jeffery

Two of the brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, are set to collide this month creating a spectacular event for stargazers.

They are to converge in the night's sky for what NASA is describing as a "jaw-dropping close encounter".

"You don't want to miss any of the action," the space agency says in a video.

Venus and Jupiter - the second and fifth planets furthest from our Sun respectively - are to converge on June 30. Every week since last winter, the two planets have appeared closer and closer to each other and are due to reach their closest point at the end of the month.

But before then space fans are in for some other visual treats as on June 19 stargazers will be able to see the planets forming a bright triangle with the crescent moon as the third point. Over the next couple of weeks you will be to see the planets during sunset, but how can you view this stunning celestial arrangement? What is happening?

Venus and Jupiter - two of the brightest planets in the night's sky - will converge. Over the next two weeks the planets will perform an amazing, daily cosmic show in the western evening sky after sunset as they move closer together. What does that mean?

According to NASA it means that we'll be able to view a "jaw-dropping close encounter".

How do we see this phenomenon?

To view it you have to go outside and look west just as the sun goes down - you don't even have to wait until the sky is fully dark.

It is thought that Venus and Jupiter are steadily coming together this month. During the first two weeks the planets appeared to move towards each other until they were about 10 degrees apart, meaning that you can hide both of them at the same time behind the palm of your outstretched hand.

NASA says that by today (June 18), Venus and Jupiter will be only 6 degrees apart. Then you'll be able to hide them both behind just two or three of your fingers with your arm outstretched. Tomorrow (June 19) NASA says something exciting happens as the crescent moon joins the show meaning that the Moon, Venus and Jupiter will form a bright isosceles triangle in the sunset sky. When is it happening?

The main event to look out for is on June 30, when Jupiter and Venus are so close they almost look like they are colliding. They will actually only be a third of a degree apart, which is less than the diameter of a full Moon - and you'll be able to block them both out with an outstretched little finger. What else can you see this month?

On June 19, stargazers will be able to see the planets forming a bright triangle with the crescent Moon as the third point. It's on this night that it's a good idea to check out the trio through a telescope. You'll be able to see the fat crescent phase of Venus, Jupiter's moons and details on the surface of our own moon. Where are Venus and Jupiter in the solar system?

Venus, named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. Jupiter, named after the Roman god, is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet in the Solar System.

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Title Annotation:What's On
Publication:The Chronicle (Newscastle upon Tyne, England)
Date:Jun 18, 2015
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