Venus and Jupiter Conjunction
On June 30, Venus and Jupiter were close in western skies at dusk. Near the culmination of this year's gorgeous conjunction, the two bright evening planets are captured in the same telescopic field of view in this image taken after sunset from Bejing, China. As the two bright planets set together in the west, a nearly Full Moon rose above the horizon to the south and east. Imaged that night with the same telescope and camera, the rising Moon from the opposite part of the sky is compared with the planetary conjunction for scale in the digitally composited image. The full lunar disk covers an angle of about 1/2 degree on the sky. Visible as well in binoculars and small telescopes are Venus' crescent and Jupiter's four Galilean moons. Of course, Venus and Jupiter are still close. NASA/Letian Wang

Less than a week from apocalyptic fears caused by doomsday “prophets” who rode on the lunar eclipse and blood moon on Sept 28, another celestial event is being peddled in the Internet by hoax makers. On Thursday, a Web site that pretends to be a news portal published an article claiming that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, confirmed there would be 15 days of darkness in November 2015. claims that according to NASA, the Earth will experience 15 days of total darkness between Nov 15 and 29, 2015. It is a one-in-a-million-year event called “November Black Out.” The story alleges that NASA head Charles Bolden submitted to US President Barack Obama a 1,000-page document that explained the event.

According to contact details on the Web page,’s address is in Kokumo Road, Almosho, Lagos, Nigeria, home of many “get rich” scams., a site that debunks rumours, points out that just repeated the same news published by another fake news site, Newswatch33, originally published by the shuttered NewsWatch28 in mid-June. Other fake news items posted by Newswatch33 include a girl electrocuted by iPhone earplugs and Jay-Z and Beyonce’s purchase of the rights to the Confederate flag.

The article stated that on Oct 26, 2015, “Venus and Jupiter will engage in a close parallelism” and would be separated only by 1 degree. When Venus passes Jupiter’s southwest, Venus would allegedly shine 10 times brighter than Jupiter and the light from Venus would heat up Jupiter’s gases and trigger a reaction.

The so-called reaction is the release of an unprecedented amount of hydrogen into space which would reach the Sun and cause a massive explosion on the Sun’s surface. This, in turn, would increase the Sun’s surface temperature to 9,000 degrees Kelvin. The Sun will then emit heat from its core that would cause it to dim to a bluish colour which would take 14 days to restore its normal temperature.

A check with NASA’s Web site showed no such event. However, on June 30, 2015, Venue and Jupiter indeed appeared closer as the two planets reached their closest point, or conjunction. But at that point, Venus was 48 million miles from Earth and Jupiter was 565 million miles away. But viewed from Earth, the two appear almost touching, according to Alan MacRobert, senior editor of Sky & Telescope magazine.

NASA posted a photo of the conjunction taken from a telescopic field of view after the sunset in Beijing, China. Before June, there was another conjunction of the two planets on March 25, 2012.

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