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What are the two bright lights in the Swedish night sky?

TT/AFP/The Local
TT/AFP/The Local - [email protected]
What are the two bright lights in the Swedish night sky?
A photograph of Jupiter and Venus above an office building in Gothenburg. Photo: Arthur Silva

No, they're not Russian drones or Chinese spy balloons. But what are those two bright lights you've seen hovering right next to each other in the Swedish sky?

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Many confused Swedes called the police last night about two mysterious dots in the night sky, and several regional police bodies have responded with articles informing the public that there is nothing to fear. 

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"We have had patrols out to investigate whether the reported airborne activity is connected to crime, but can confirm that the police are unable to make any arrests," reads a somewhat tongue-in-cheek statement from the police in Region Bergslagen.

"In these cases, the reports most probably concern the planets of Jupiter and Venus, which are currently in conjunction. This means that that they appear as two points of light close together which can be mistaken for a flying vehicle. Police are not going to take any more action to investigate this aerial activity."

Venus (L) and Jupiter (R) rise together in a rare conjunction in the pre-dawn sky of August 18, 2014 in New York. The two planets were separated by about 0.25 degrees as viewed from Earth. Also seen are the moons of Jupiter (from top, R-L): Europa, Io, Callisto (close to planet) and Ganymede. The planets will appear farther apart each day but still relatively close together about 45 minutes before sunrise this week. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo by STAN HONDA / AFP)

A planetary conjunction occurs when two planets (or other celestial bodies, such as moons), appear to pass each other, due to the fact that they orbit around the sun in approximately the same plane.

Those wishing to see the phenomenon for themselves should study the sky just after dusk on Friday, Eva Wirström from Onsala Space Observatory told SVT, as the planets will move closer and closer to the horizon throughout the night.

From Saturday, she said, the conjunction would be over, with planets (as viewed from Sweden) starting to move further away from one another. 

Arthur Silva, a software developer based in Gothenburg, spotted the phenomenon on Thursday night and sent us the main photo used in this story. 

"I wonder if you guys have seen or know anything about two big and bright spots in the sky today," he wrote. "At first I thought they were two airplanes. But they were not moving. I'm curious."

Here's Arthur Silva's full photo:

Jupiter and Venus visible above an office building in Gothenburg. Photo: Arthur Silva

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