Serious sky observers will want to set their alarms before dawn Monday, Aug. 18, when Jupiter and Venus - the two brightest planets in the northern skies - do a little astronomical two-step called a conjunction.
Both will appear amazingly brilliant, with Venus on the left and Jupiter to the right, low on the eastern horizon before sunrise. Best viewing should be about 4:30 a.m. To see their celestial dance, viewers will need a clear view of the east-northeast horizon.
According to the sky-observing website earthsky.org, the two planets will appear closer together than the width of the moon - their closest conjunction until Aug. 27, 2016.
A conjunction occurs when two astronomical objects have either the same right ascension or the same ecliptical longitude when observed from the Earth. Such phenomena are just a matter of the objects' relative position in space as viewed from Earth; they're actually hundred of millions of miles apart.