HONOLULU (KHON2) — The KHON2 News desk received lots of calls on Wednesday, March 1, about a duo of strange lights floating in the sky.
The first call came from Discovery Harbor. Two more calls came from Mākaha. Another came from Waikīkī.
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After inspecting the photos and videos that viewers sent, KHON2 reached out to astronomers from University of Hawai’i for some answers.
Rest assured, it is not aliens invading paradise. According to UH astronomy department, the two lights are Venus and Jupiter in a conjunction event.
“No … It’s not a spy balloon. It’s just those planets. There are planetary friends, Venus and Jupiter. And, it’s what’s called a conjunction, which is when two planets appear very close together in the sky,” said Roy Gal, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Institute for Astronomy.
Gal said that the two planets are separated by about half a degree. That’s about the size of the moon, from our perspective that is.
Gal went on to explain the phenomenon in layman’s terms for us.
“Because the planets are in sort of an orbit in a plane around the sun, it’s kind of like looking at cars on a racetrack passing each other occasionally, you know. They’ll line up, and they’ll be really close together. And, other times, they’ll just be all spread out,” explained Gal.
He noted that the two planets are two racing planets that are passing one another.
NASA has an informative video that explains the conjunction for those who want to know more about how our solar system functions.
According to NASA, the March 1 conjunction is the closest these two planets will be. From this point forward, they will be slowly moving apart.
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NASA said that the two planets will “quickly go their separate ways… Venus climbs higher in the sky each night for the next couple of months, while Jupiter dives after the Sun.”