Venus has been a morning sky object for months. Saturn has been hidden behind the Sun until recently and has joined Venus in the sky before sunrise. They're moving across the sky a somewhat different speeds and in the second week of January the two planets pass each other.
For a few hours on the morning of January 9th the two planets will be separated by gap just 1/5th of the diameter of the moon. Unless your eyesight is fairly bad, they will still appear as two distinct points of light but it's still rare to see bright planets so close together.
Venus is much the brighter of the two planets; although smaller than Saturn it is much nearer to us and shrouded by highly reflective clouds.
Here is the simulated view through my 8-inch Meade LX10 with a 5mm eyepiece at around 6.30am.
Venus and Saturn look roughly the same size (the disk of Saturn, without the rings). Without any depth perception it might help if you know that the actual size of Saturn is nearly 10 times larger than Venus. Therefore, for them to look the same size, Saturn must be about 10 times further from us than Venus.
There are a number of other planetary conjunctions in 2016 - most will happen in the last quarter of the year.
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Dr Adrian Jannetta. Amateur astronomer, maths teacher and science enthusiast.