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Monday, December 01, 2008


Semi-live blogging the Venus, Jupiter Moon conjunction

6:22 pm ACDST: Klatting CLOUD!

7:09 pm ACDST: Still Klatting CLOUD! But there was a sundog in the cloud, making it rather pretty. Then my camera battery went flat (faceplam). I was planning to see if I could get shots of Venus, the Moon and Jupiter in daylight, but that seems doomed.

7:32 pm ACDST: The clouds are rather nice, stark white fluffy horsetails against a vibrant blue sky streaked with light and shade from the setting Sun. EXCEPT THEY ARE RIGHT ON TOP OF THE MOON AND VENUS!!!!

8:10 pm ACDST: My brother texts me to say the Moon, Venus and Jupiter look like a smiley face. I grind my teeth in frustration. Then Mirabilis! There is a patch of clear sky! I can see the Moon, Venus and Jupiter. Technically this is seeing them in the daytime, as the sun is 5 minutes from setting, but when the sun is grazing the horizon this is pretty marginal. I take a few quick shots. (as always with the images here, you can click on them to get a higher resolution image, the "daylight Venus and Jupiter will be hard to see unless you do enlarge it)

8:32 pm ACDST: The cloud has parted a fair bit, and a large chunk of sky is crystal clear, the triple line-up is amazing, I fire off a series of shots and close ups. Maybe some will work. I show the boys before sending them off to bed "It's a smiley face" says Middle One.

9:00 pm ACDST: The cloud is back again, but the Moon and planets glow fuzzily through the cloud.

9:30 pm - 10:00 pm ACDST: The cloud has gone away, I take some shots, then set up the small telescope and have a look. The planets jitter and jiggle in the heat haze, but I can see the Moons of Jupiter clearly, and the bands of colour even though Jupiter shimmies and shakes. See Comet Al's images of the line-up, the Moons of jupiter are clearly visible(can't see them at all in mine).

Venus is clearly waning gibbous, and shines so bright in the scope that it almost hurts. The Moons craters shiver as if they are underwater.

The best views were with the binoculars though, all the participanst were together in the binocular field, and the warm glow of the earthshine on the Moon was clearly seen, as well as the craters of the Moon.

The Bettdeckererschnappender weisle came back from her School Council meeting and said that everyone had gone out to see the lineup. They called it the "Smiley Fritz" Moon.

Finally I packed up the scope and binoculars and went back inside, tired but happy.

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Gidday Ian, I hope the clouds have moved out. In melbourne I got some good views. Posted one on My Blog, see the image gallery for a full sized view. Look close at Jupiter it has moons.
Kind regards, Alan

Man that is a spectacular picture! What did you take it with?

Yes, it did clear up here eventually (as the extended diary attests). Pretty good all in all.
i also have seen this from my country Maldives..., its nice and beautiful.., this really A Big Smile from Heaven...,
These are from Belgrade, Serbia (Canon PowerShot A570IS):
Thanks for the report, Ian.

We had similar sketchy skies here in the afternoon but it cleared nicely just at the right time.

My report and pics here:
Nice work Ian, have linked to this blog from my blog of the event and past occultations


HA...your conjunction is upside down! Or maybe its ours in the north that's not right side up? I watched this during my evening commute from Kansas City. I thought at first the planets were incoming airplanes. Called my daughter to tell her to look and she told me it was a big deal!!
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Hey, your pictures are upside down!

Here's what it looks like in the northern hemisphere (near Santa Fe, New Mexico):
mesa mike

That's a prize winning photo. I can smell the pinon!
I'm not a star lover, but I'm very curious. I've been watching the phenomenon since sunday, from Kinshasa, DRC; I was very amazed by what I had never seen before in my life. It was wonderful in a cloudless sky. I rushed to my computer to indentify the two stars that were so hugging the moon and so bright, I discovered with Stellarium and Celestia that it was Venus and Jupiter. I heard later a friend caught some pictures of it, I'll see what he got.
It's great to see so many people could see this event! I'm glad you had a great experience, and could share it with us. Fantastic pictures folks!
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