Venus [ http://www.seds.org/nineplanets/nineplanets/venus.html ] and Jupiter [ http://pds.jpl.nasa.gov/planets/welcome/jupiter.htm ] appeared unusually close together in the sky last month. The conjunction was easily visible to the unaided eye because Venus [ http://www.aspsky.org/html/tnl/18/18.html ] appears brighter than any background star. The two planets were not significantly closer in space - Venus just passed nearly in front of Jupiter as seen from the Earth [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap990131.html ]. Visible in the above photograph [ http://www.psiaz.com/polakis/conj0299/conj0299.html ] are actually five planets. The faint dot near the top is Saturn [ http://www.seds.org/nineplanets/nineplanets/saturn.html ]. Venus is the brightest spot near the center, and Jupiter [ http://www.seds.org/nineplanets/nineplanets/jupiter.html ] is just above it. Perhaps the hardest to see is Mercury [ http://stardate.utexas.edu/resources/ssguide/mercury.html ], visible below Venus but above the foreground Earth [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap980904.html ]. A single line nearly connects all the planets [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap980825.html ], a result of all planets orbiting the Sun [ http://www.seds.org/nineplanets/nineplanets/sol.html ] in a single plane called the ecliptic [ http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap970927.html ].