Jupiter has been a prominent feature in the evening skies since this spring. As we pass through the summer months Jupiter is going to shift closer and closer to the setting Sun each evening. It will disappear from the evening sky in early September.
Meanwhile, Venus has returned to the evening sky. Unfortunately, even though it has been in the evening sky since early June, the usually prominent evening star is making little progress in separating itself from the setting sun. This is because the ecliptic (the path of the planets across our sky) is titled at a steep angle to horizon. Instead of being more up and down it is tilted more left and right. Thus the planet’s motion appears to be more in movement from the NW towards the W along the horizon from night to night (see image below) instead of climbing away from the Sun. With the Sun setting earlier each evening and Venus’ slow movement away from the Sun it will get slowly easier to spot Venus in the fading twilight, however it will still be a challenge through the end of July.
On August 27th the two planets will seem to converge in the evening sky. Arkansas will be in a prime spot to witness the event. The two will pass within .4 deg. around 5:30pm local time. Depending on weather conditions the two may be bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye in daylight. This will be one of the closest conjunction of these two planets in our life, so make sure to enjoy this slow dance of the planets.