I just learnt yesterday that a ‘Conjunction’ is the term used for whenever two celestial bodies appear close to one another in the sky. It has been wonderful the past two nights to have clear skies and to see what is apparently a rare conjunction of Venus (the one nearest to the moon in the picture) and Jupiter (at the top).
Although they appear to be close to one another, they are of course mind-bogglingly (is that a word?) far apart. The moon is 238,000 miles (382,900 kilometers) from the Earth, at the moment Venus is about 67 million miles (108 million km) from the Earth and Jupiter is about 535 million miles (861 million km) away! (Source). Naturally these are tiny distances compared to measuring the distances between stars, but there is something special about our planetary neighbours.
Venus is the second closest planet to the Sun and is similar in size to the Earth. It has a barren rocky surface and an atmosphere of carbon dioxide with clouds of Sulphuric acid! Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet in our Solar System, over 120 times larger than the Earth!
Some words from Psalm 148 seem appropriate:
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
6 He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.