<p>The bright lights of Venus (right)&nbsp;and Jupiter appear to draw closer in the sky over Saint Thaddeus Monastery in <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/iran-guide/">Iran</a> on Monday night during this week's planetary conjunction. The two worlds-the brightest we're able to see with the unaided eye-were at their closest on Thursday, separated by only three degrees in the sky, or the width of two fingers at arms' length.</p><p>The planets' apparent proximity is an optical illusion-in reality, Venus is nearly 75.9 million miles (122 million kilometers) distant from Earth, and Jupiter sits about seven times farther away, at 524 million miles (844 million kilometers) from Earth. (Get the <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/03/120313-conjunction-venus-jupiter-sky-space-science/">full story about the conjunction</a>.)</p>

Heavenly Lights

The bright lights of Venus (right) and Jupiter appear to draw closer in the sky over Saint Thaddeus Monastery in Iran on Monday night during this week's planetary conjunction. The two worlds-the brightest we're able to see with the unaided eye-were at their closest on Thursday, separated by only three degrees in the sky, or the width of two fingers at arms' length.

The planets' apparent proximity is an optical illusion-in reality, Venus is nearly 75.9 million miles (122 million kilometers) distant from Earth, and Jupiter sits about seven times farther away, at 524 million miles (844 million kilometers) from Earth. (Get the full story about the conjunction.)

Photograph by Oshin D. Zakarian, TWAN

Space Pictures This Week: Conjunction, Aurora, More

Planets meet over a monastery, a cosmic unicorn sparkles, the Milky Way flows over Borneo, and more in the week's best space pictures.

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