Venus-Jupiter Conjunction: how to view from Bay Area

Two folks observe Venus crossing in front of the sun with special goggles. Viewing the Venus-Jupiter conjuction does not require goggles, though looking toward the rising sun should be done with caution. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Venus and Jupiter will meet in the morning hours of Monday to offer a pleasant sight for Bay Area sky-gazers. 

The two brightest planets in our solar system will share the same right ascension, which is the east-west longitude in the sky measurable by an observer from earth, and reach “conjunction,” according to Essentially, they move on a path that is roughly similar, making it appear that they are close together. 

Interesting fact: the planets are actually over 400 million miles apart, making the illusion of closeness even more cool. 

Bay Area residents interested in witnessing the show should expect Jupiter and Venus to rise around 5:40 a.m., respectively. Exact time for Bay Area viewership was not listed, and these numbers are based off calculations that mirror the expected times for Los Angeles. As a broad target time, shoot for an hour before sunrise. San Francisco’s sunrise Monday is at 6:48 a.m.

The planets will be roughly 12 degrees above the horizon when the sun is just out of view. Viewers should look toward the direction of sunrise (very low), according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. If you have a pair of wide-field binoculars, bring them, as they should be able to capture the planet's closeness in the same frame. 

And if you can get on a hilltop or balcony, do it, because the quality of your view will improve (Grizzly Peak would be great!).