You’ve probably already noticed that bright “star” low in the west just after sunset. Then the other bright “star” that has been slowly getting higher in the east over the past few months. Of course they are Venus (in the West) and Jupiter (high up in the ESE).
Other than any bright plane (or the Space Station) these will be the brightest things in the sky for a while. Cool thing is by taking a look at these every night (all right.. every couple of nights if you aren’t as crazy about this as I am) you can get a front row seat on what it is actually like to be on a spinning body (the Earth) that is making it’s way around the sun.. while these other planets are doing the same thing. By noticing their movements over the weeks ahead you can get real personal understanding of just what is going on with all these planets.
I’ve created a simple animation video that shows you these planets as they do their orbiting thing over the next month.
The video shows the position of these two planets at 6pm each night for the next month. Notice how Venus is getting higher in the west as Jupiter is heading closer to it. By March they will be REAL close.
note: above animation created using the totally free and awesome planetarium application “Stellarium” (http://www.stellarium.org) – for MAC / Windows / Linux