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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

 

Venus, Jupiter and the Moon: An Awesome Lineup Coming Up.

The western horizon at around one and a half hours after sunset on Monday, December 1, 2008 as seen from the southern hemisphere.

I hope you have all been enjoying the antics of Jupiter and Venus in Sagittarius. This week sees a spectacular finale as Venus and Jupiter come together for an amazing lineup in the sky.

At the moment, Venus is easily seen high in the early western evening sky near the handle of the "teapot" of Sagittarius, not far from Jupiter (the brightest object in the sky after Venus). As the week goes on, Venus and Jupiter come much, much closer together. By Saturday 29 November they are nearly side by side. On the 30th they draw closer again, and the thin crescent Moon can be seen below them almost touching the bright star Kaus Borealis in the lid of the "Teapot".

Finally, on Monday December 1 the crescent Moon, Venus and Jupiter form a close triangle that you can cover with your thumb. All three objects will fit into the field of view of a pair of binoculars. A small telescope will show the craters of the Moon, the satellites of Jupiter and the half moon phase of Venus all close by. The dark side of the Moon should show up with the ghostly glow of Earthshine on it. This will be an excellent photo opportunity.

The best time to look is between half an hour and an hour and a half after sunset, although the planets can be seen outside these times.

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Comments:
In Florida, U.S. around 7 p.m. Dec. 1, the show was spectacular. A few wispy clouds and a brilliant, brilliant view of the triangle of the moon, Venus and Jupiter. Amazing! Visit www.MyTopiaCafe.com for photos.
 
What a beautiful amazing sight! I went to a friends home ( located in Diamond Bar Ca.) and on top of his deck he has an commercial high power telescope which is what we used to view this. And what a sight. Venus was so bright to look at. Jupiter appeared more clear and the 3 stars we saw that shined just as bright but smaller , were Jupiter moons!
 
In the UK my 'Stellarium' software indicated that Venus would be covered by the moon until 17.15 UT - so I set up my 70mm f10 refractor and waited. Fortunately, the sky was clear on Monday 1st December. I observed Jupiter and its moons to pass the time, returning to look at the Moon at about 17.12; what amazed me was the suddenness with which Venus appeared from behind the Moon, at 17.16
 
We live in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Here is a picture I took of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter next to the Tower of the Grey High School.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1mKFVdstAY
I hope you enjoy it.
John
 
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