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Venus, Jupiter to put on rare spectacle

The planets Venus and Jupiter will align on Monday and Tuesday night, appearing just 3 degrees apart in the western sky.

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    The planet Jupiter, shown here in an undated image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, will appear in the sky next to Venus on Monday and Tuesday night.
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It's not too late to catch the spectacular Venus and Jupiter show.

On Monday and Tuesday evenings, the planets will appear just 3 degrees apart in the western sky. The gap has been narrowing since last month.

The two planets are visible every night at twilight. Venus is brighter because of its relative closeness, compared with super-far-away Jupiter.

Even though the gap will widen, the planets will appear remarkably close all week and be easily visible the rest of this month. So says astronomer Tony Phillips, author of the spaceweather.com website. Grab a small telescope, and you can also catch Jupiter's four largest moons.

Astronomers consider it the best evening tag-up of Venus and Jupiter in years. In July, early-risers will be treated to a similar spectacle, in the eastern sky at daybreak. Phillips says throw in the crescent moon, and it "will be worth waking up for."

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