2012 will be a year full of memorable astronomical events. One of the first will be an apparent close encounter between Venus and Jupiter visible to the unaided eye in March 2012. Regardless of where you live in Australia, you will be able to look low above the Western horizon as evening twilight ends and observe these two bright planets near each other. During March 2012, Venus and Jupiter will rapidly change position relative to each other as they, and the planet Earth (on which we are living) move at different speeds in their respective orbits. Make this flipbook to get a preview of how dramatically the two planets will change apparent position throughout March 2012.
Using this resource with your students would be an ideal way of demonstrating one of the ‘predictable phenomena on Earth, including seasons and eclipses‘ which ‘are caused by the relative positions of the sun, Earth and the moon‘ (quote from The Australian Curriculum, Science / Year 7 / Science Understanding / Earth and space sciences (ACSSU115)). Specifically, this resource demonstrates the concept of planetary conjunctions. This concept refers to an apparent alignment of two planets in the Earth’s night sky. In reality, the planets are not near each other and the alignment is merely a line of sight effect.
Download the Adobe Acrobat file here: Venus_Jupiter_Flipbook_March_2012