Monday, December 29, 2008

Venus, Neptune, Moon, Jupiter, and Mercury over Kinney County

According to Bob, tonight was the night to see Venus (high and bright!), Neptune, The Moon, Jupiter, and Mercury all together in the sky at the same time. I saw them all! I saw Mercury only briefly as the clouds were really in the way but my camera got it!

You can read all about tonight's planetary gathering at EarthSky.Org.

Click images to enlarge.

Above: Sunset as seen from Tularosa Road north of Brackettville. Upper left is Venus, center is the Moon.

I hoped to be able spot Neptune and I wasn't disappointed. Through the binoculars I could see another planet (a bright light in the sky that wasn't twinkling) under Venus so I took several shots in hopes of capturing it. After getting the pix on my puter, I see that the camera picked up several bright spots under La Luna. I don't know if any of them are Neptune but one of them is bound to be since I could see it so easily with the nocs. I'm hoping Bob can tell me for sure.

I was lucky enough to see Neptune because I was far enough out of town not to have my view of the sky disrupted by city light.

Above: This was my attempt at getting Neptune. One of those two light specks under Venus might be Neptune. I think it's the top speck. The lower right bright object in the clouds is the Moon.

I was out on my beloved Tularosa Road (a bit north of Brackettville) to shoot tonight. Once the sun was good and gone, the Milky Way was clear and bright. It's such a great place to watch the night sky.

The whole time I was on the side of the hill I'd picked to shoot from on Tularosa Road, some critter was behind me snuffling around in the cactus and brush. I tried to take its photo but maybe it was just a noisy rat because try as I might, I never could find it. He kept spooking me out there in the dark. It was really annoying! I don't mind rats so much, it was the idea that it might be a skunk that had me worried.

Above: Upper left is Venus. Center leftish is the Moon. Under the moon in descending order are Jupiter and Mercury. Or so I think.

Above: My best shot of Jupiter and Mercury. Click the image to see them better. The brightest bit is the moon of course.



Bob Johnson said...

Way to go Genie!! Lol about your could be skunk, let me tell you I've been close to one that has let go and it is not nice,lol, kind of spoils the rest of the night under the stars. Great shots, clouded out here last night, tonight and probably tomorrow.

Those two bright stars under Venus are part of Capricornus, but you did probably did manage Neptune, a very faint point of 8 mag light just to the right of Venus on your image, you can barely make it out.

I will take a couple of your images for my next post, hopefully you can get the December 31 double conjunction, that would be cool.

Patsi said...

Cool sky shots ! We saw that ! I was shocked when my husband informed me that it was Venus near the moon.
The cloulds are sooo colorful.Very pretty.

Genie said...

Thank you Patsi!