Monday, December 1, 2008

Moon, Jupiter, and Venus Conjunction--next showing, 2052

Before I get to the conjunction, I just want to mention that I've been out of town since last Wednesday. I had a fantastic visit with family and am only just now catching up with email. I stopped reading and composing long enough to run out and shoot the conjunction tonight, though. I'll be catching up with everybody's blogs this week. Can't wait to see what y'all have been up to!

Thanks to Blackholes and Astrostuff I was alerted to tonight's Moon/Venus/Jupiter conjunction--it won't occur again for 44 years. My photos are terrible but I don't care. I'm just happy that I was aware of the coming conjunction. Thanks to Bob, I spent the last several nights watching the planets get (seemingly) closer in the sky. While visiting my Dad and Mamman Claudette for Thanksgiving I pointed out Jupiter and Venus low on the horizon and Dad raced to get his telescope but it had been so long since he'd used it that none of the right pieces were attached for what we were trying to view and the planets dropped before we could get the scope properly set up. That's okay, we tried! And just being even somewhat aware and willing to experience what's going on in the universe around you is something, as far as I'm concerned.

Pops lives in Austin where you're lucky to see any stars at all in the night sky. But Venus and Jupiter are very hard to miss right now as they are so bright, so close, and so easily spotted on the horizon at and after sunset. For a while (Bob could tell me exactly for how long) you can see them as the sun is setting and for a few hours after.

Above: That white streak going by the moon and two planets was a commercial jet zipping through the sky--click the image to enlarge it and see what I'm talking about. You might have to strain your eyes a bit to see though.

Above: Even though my conjunction photos, well, suck, I am still proud of the fact that I captured a little Earthshine on the moon. A click will enlarge the image. Leonardo Da Vinci was the first to figure out what Earthshine was (more or less, he didn't have it exactly right but he was close enough) and that's why it's sometimes known as Da Vinci Glow. Earthshine is also known as "ashen glow" or "the old moon in the new moon's arms."

Read more about the conjunction at or check Blackholes and Astrostuff because Bob got some great photos. His blog is worth a visit anytime, regardless.


Bob Johnson said...

Way To Go Genie, I am so proud of you, that last shot with the Earthshine is quite the accomplishment!! I am offering free 3D glasses to anyone who wants to post their conjunction pic on my site. You can still see the pairing of Venus and Jupiter for quite awhile although they will start pulling apart from each other from here on in, again way to go!

Dark Love said...

Fascinating! You have done a neat job on capturing those images. Thank you for sharing the information as well. I love learning about the cosmos and I did not know that about Da Vinci. We have had nothing but fog and clouds but maybe it'll clear up in time for me to catch a similar view before its gone.

Genie said...

Thanks Love! Bob at Blackholes and Astrostuff says the Venus/Jupiter conjunction will be visible for quite some time, you just won't get to see the moon with them. I didn't know that about Da Vinci either, I learn all kinds of stuff researching for my blog entries. Kind of like you and your fungus!

Darbee said...

Love these! I've been watching them grow closer and closer. Is this the closest they get? I haven't looked up any information on the conjunction, so I appreciate all the info! Saved me a Google trip! Love, love, love...the earthshine picture!

Genie said...

Thanks Darbee! The moon won't appear with them again until you and I are in nursing homes, but they'll remain close together for a while yet. As far as how close the two planets will get (from our perspective) I think they've gotten as close as they are going to get, in fact, I think they were at their closest on the 30th. They'll be close again in March of 2012, sans the Lunar conjunction. Some believe that these two planets came close enough together to appear as one star in the sky back in biblical times and may have been the star of Bethlehem.

Patsi said...

My husband and I were on our way home Monday night and kept staring at the moon and what we thought were just stars. Didn't know we were looking at Venus and Jupiter. It was amazing.
Great capture !!

Thanks for sharing.

Genie said...

Thanks Patsi! They were really pretty tonight too. That reminds me, I have to tell the hub about the troughs.

Texas Travelers said...

Love the Earthshine photo. Not easy. The first photo at sunset is probably my favorite though. Nice job.

BTW, your blog has come a long way. It looks great and the photography is outstanding. The butterflies on the sidebar is my favorite feature.

Thanks for the visit,
Troy and martha

Genie said...

Thank you Troy and Martha!