A 6% illuminated waning crescent moon and the planet Venus were in a close conjunction low in the southeast just before sunrise last 10 January 2013.
The waning crescent which looks like a thin “smile” on the sky, tilted a bit to the right. The soft glow on the dark side of the moon is called the Earthshine.
I always love taking pictures of a thin crescent moon, especially when it’s also nearby another bright objects like the planet Venus. It just makes my day complete.
When I look into the night sky on a clear evening I am always completely in awe of the immense beauty of it all. That is why before leaving the house last night, I thought of getting an image of the first quarter moon that seemed to smile at me in the western sky.
Image taken via afocal method (Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH2 digital camera on Galileoscope).
Situated well above the 88% illuminated waxing gibbous moon tonight were two bright objects — one is the planet Mars and the other one is the star Regulus in the constellation Leo.
These three formed a nice cosmic triangle in the night sky just like what is shown above. (Please take note that the image was a composite.)
Reddish Mars has been in Leo close to the star Regulus for the past few weeks, and the two will remain companions all April. During May and June, Mars will drift away from Regulus, and will head toward the constellation Virgo where Saturn is currently residing.
Conjunctions of the moon and the planets are quite special events.
A conjunction is an alignment of 2 or more celestial bodies (usually the moon and planets) in the sky, from our vantage point on Earth. The objects aren’t necessarily physically close to each other in space, but from where we see them, when the bodies are grouped close together on the sky we call them in conjunction.
When the objects get so close together that one passes in front of the other from our vantage point, we call that an occultation.
A conjunction doesn’t have any particularly special meaning, but they can be interesting to observe because very close conjunctions are quite rare events. It can be very exciting to see two planets in the same field of view of your telescope!
Not only that, but conjunctions, especially with the moon and/or bright planets are involved, are just a lovely spectacle to look at and photograph.
On February 25-26, the crescent Moon will join the other two brightest objects in the night sky to form a spectacular celestial grouping during and after twilight! They’re just a few degrees apart at the time of twilight in the west.
This will be a lovely sight to see.
All photos were taken by me using Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH2 digital camera.
In celebration of the National Astronomy Week (NAW) 2012, the University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP AstroSoc) in partnership with the Philippine Society of Youth Science Clubs (PSYSC) invites everyone to a public observation of the celestial grouping of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter on February 26, 2012.
The said event will be at the Sun Deck of the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory in UP Diliman.
Define closeness; see the thin lunar crescent pass close to Venus and Jupiter on the eve of February 26. Observation starts at around 6PM or later.
Messier marathon begins at 9 PM. Messier objects were discovered in the 18th century. These were listed so that observers using small telescopes would not confuse these with comets
SEE YOU THERE!
To join the event, please visit its Facebook event page :
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Mars in the eastern sky at 9:51 pm | Quezon City, Philippines
We were sitting on one of those weird benches surrounding the trees in the open-air space of UP-Ayala Technohub after having a rewarding dinner when I noticed a red-orange star in the eastern sky infront of us. My brain told me that, based on its brightness and location it had to be Mars. It was hardly recognizable at first because the waxing gibbous moon was shining close to it. Moreover, we were situated in a very light-polluted area that my eyes were struggling to see those faint celestial objects near the horizon.
The red planet is back in the eastern sky at nightfall on these evenings. It is now in fact, one of the brightest “stars” (around -0.9 mag) in the night sky. It is growing even brighter and more prominent, especially towards the end of the month as it comes close to opposition to the Sun and its nearest pass to Earth.
Moon, Leo and Mars
Mars started to retrograde (move westward) toward the star Regulus in the constellation Leo last January 24. That happens whenever Earth is about to pass between the sun and Mars, which will happen on March 3, 2012. Mars has been brightening ever since retrograde motion began.
By the end of February, Mars will rise only 20 minutes after the Sun sets, so it will be easily seen by the time the sky darkens and will shine all-night long. By then Mars will have brightened to magnitude -1.2, nearly as bright as Sirius.
This year comes with its share of many remarkable skywatching events that we can participate in. The most important is the rare transit of Venus across the face of the Sun in June 2012. The next time this will occur again is in 2117. We have the unique opportunity to observe this. (A note to Philippine observers: We are in a good location for this event!) Moreover, there’s also the Mercury elongation in February, Jupiter-Venus conjunction on March 13-15, the solar eclipses on May 21 and November 14 and our favorite annual meteor showers.
The list below also contains some tips for Philippine observers.
Clear skies and happy observing!
February 20 – March 12 : Best Chance to see Mercury
The planet Mercury will be far enough from the Sun’s glare to be visible shortly after sunset. Mercury will reach greatest elongation from the Sun on March 5, reaching a relatively bright magnitude of about -1. This will be your best chance to see the planet this year.
February 26 : Moon, Jupiter and Venus at Dusk
Look westward after sunset to see the moon and the dazzling planets Jupiter and Venus lighting up the western sky.
March 3 : Mars at Opposition
The red planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view and photograph this planet. Mars will be an imposing naked-eye sight, shining at magnitude -1.2, just a bit dimmer than Sirius, the brightest star, and will be visible in the sky all night long.
March 14 : Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter
The two brightest planets in the sky will be within 3 degrees of each other in the evening sky. On March 25 and 25, the crescent Moon will be near the two planets, creating a dazzling evening spectacle.
March 26 : Crescent Moon, Jupiter and Venus line up at Dusk
Watch for the young waxing crescent moon and the planets Jupiter and Venus near each other in the west after sunset. The moon, Venus and Jupiter rank as the brightest, second- and third-brightest heavenly bodies of nighttime respectively. This will be last chance in 2012 that you will see them all-together at dusk.
March 27: Venus at Greatest Eastern Elongation
Venus reaches its greatest eastern elongation and will be separated from the Sun by 46°, its greatest apparent distance from the sun on our sky’s dome. Venus will set about three hours after sunset during this event. At this superb evening elongation for the Northern Hemisphere, Venus will stand above the setting sun. This is a good time to look out for the Schroter Effect, which predicts that dichotomy the 50% lit phase occurs a few days early for evening elongation.
April 3: Venus near the Pleiades
Venus will appear to the left of the Pleiades star cluster. Especially with binoculars or a small telescope, this bright plant should appear swimming in a sea of stars.
April 15 : Saturn at Opposition
The ringed planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view and photograph Saturn and its moons.
April 21, 22 : Lyrid Meteor Shower
The Lyrids are an average shower, usually producing about 20 meteors per hour at their peak. These meteors can produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds. The shower usually peaks on April 21 & 22, although some meteors can be visible from April 16 – 25. With no moon to get in the way this year, this really should be a good show. Look for meteors radiating from the constellation of Lyra after midnight.
May 21 : [Annular] Solar Eclipse
The path of annularity will begin in southern China and move east through Japan, the northern Pacific Ocean, and into the western United States. A partial eclipse will be visible throughout parts of eastern Asia and most of North America. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information) (Note: In the Philippines, we will be able to see a crescent sun at dawn.)
June 4 : Partial Lunar Eclipse
The eclipse will be visible throughout most of Asia, including the Philippines Australia, the Pacific Ocean, and the Americas. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information) In the Philippines, we can observe this event as an eclipse at dusk, meaning we will be able to see an eclipsed moon rising.
eclipse magnitude: 37.6%
moonrise: 6:17 pm PHT
greatest eclipse: 7:03 pm PHT
partial eclipse ends: 8:07 pm PHT
penumbral eclipse ends: 9:19 pm PHT
Go to http://shadowandsubstance.com/ to see an animation of the eclipse.
June 6 : Transit of Venus Across the Sun
This extremely rare event will be entirely visible throughout most of eastern Asia, eastern Australia, and Alaska. A partial transit can be seen in progress at sunrise throughout Europe, western Asia, and eastern Africa. A partial transit can be seen in progress at sunset throughout most of North America, Central America, and western South America. The next transit will not take place until the year 2117. (NASA Transit Information | NASA Transit Map)
July 15 : Moon, Venus and Jupiter near the Hyades and the Pleiades Star Cluster
See the three brightest objects in the night sky next to the Pleiades and the Hyades open star cluster in Taurus before dawn on July 15th.
August 12, 2012: Occultation of Jupiter by the Moon
For Philippine observers, the morning of 12 August sees the waning crescent Moon pass in front of Jupiter and its moons in a so-called occultation. Occultations are comparatively rare events, which offer good photo opportunities for amateur astronomers. Prospects and timings for the event vary with location.
The event takes place while Jupiter and the Moon are low in the sky during the wee hours of the morning.
|2012 Aug 12 02:43||Occultation disappearance of Jupiter (Mag -2.2)|
|2012 Aug 12 03:16||Occultation reappearance of Io (Mag 5.5)|
|2012 Aug 12 03:17||Occultation reappearance of Jupiter (Mag -2.2)|
|2012 Aug 12 03:18||Occultation reappearance of Europa (Mag 5.7)|
|2012 Aug 12 03:20||Occultation reappearance of Callisto (Mag 6.1)|
|2012 Aug 12 03:32||Occultation reappearance of Ganymede (Mag 5.0)|
August 11, 12 : Perseids Meteor Shower
The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower’s peak usually occurs on August 11 & 12, but you may be able to see some meteors any time from July 23 – August 24. The radiant point for this shower will be in the constellation Perseus. The near last quarter moon will be hanging around for the show, but shouldn’t be too much of a problem for a shower with up to 60 meteors per hour. Find a location far from city lights and look to the northeast after midnight.
October 5 : Moon-Jupiter Conjunction
The King of the Planets and the crescent moon will reunite for a close celestial pairing. Check the eastern sky around midnight to spot these two objects that are less than one degree apart!
October 21, 22: Orionid Meteor Shower
The Orionid Meteor Shower usually reaches its peak around October 21, having an average of 20 meteors per hour. The Orionids are fast meteors and also have fireballs. These meteors radiate near the boundaries between the Great Hunter Orion and Gemini. The cometary debris left behind by Comet Halley — bits of ice, dust and rubble — create the Orionid meteor shower. It last visited Earth in 1986.
A good show could be experienced on any morning from October 20 – 24, but some meteors may be seen any time from October 17 – 25. The first quarter moon will set by midnight, leaving a dark sky for what should be a good show.
The best time to view these meteors is usually in the wee hours before dawn. That time holds true no matter what time zone you’re in.
November 13 : Total Solar Eclipse
The path of totality will only be visible in parts of extreme northern Australia and the southern Pacific Ocean. A partial eclipse will be visible in most parts of eastern Australia and New Zealand. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information) (Note: This event is not visible in the Philippines.)
November 17, 18 : Leonids Meteor Shower
The Leonids is one of the better meteor showers to observe, producing an average of 40 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower itself has a cyclic peak year every 33 years where hundreds of meteors can be seen each hour. The last of these occurred in 2001. The shower usually peaks on November 17 & 18, but you may see some meteors from November 13 – 20. The crescent moon will set early in the evening leaving dark skies for what should be an excellent show. Look for the shower radiating from the constellation Leo after midnight, and be sure to find a dark location for viewing.
November 27 : Conjunction of Venus and Saturn
These two bright planets will be within 1 degree of each other in the morning sky. Look to the east around sunrise.
December 3 : Jupiter at Opposition
The giant planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. This is the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons.
December 11 : Saturn, Venus, Mercury and the Crescent Moon at Predawn
Check the eastern sky about an hour before dawn to see this magnificent celestial display of the three planets and the thin lunar crescent.
December 13, 14 : Geminid Meteor Shower
Considered by many to be the best meteor shower in the heavens, the Geminids are known for producing up to 60 multicolored meteors per hour at their peak. The peak of the shower usually occurs around December 13 & 14, although some meteors should be visible from December 6 – 19. The radiant point for this shower will be in the constellation Gemini. This year the new moon will guarantee a dark sky for what should be an awesome show. Best viewing is usually to the east after midnight from a dark location.
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- Stellarium Planetarium Software
I was about to go home when I caught a glimpse of Venus and the thin Moon hanging close together in the western sky at dusk last January 26.
I didn’t have a camera with me then. Fortunately, a friend of mine had his camera and let me use it to take a few images of this stunning sight.
Venus is now shining brilliantly in the west-southwest after sunset at magnitude -4.0. It will be climbing higher in our sky over the next three months as it comes closer to us in its orbit. Over that time the planet will brighten but its phase will shrink as the Sun shifts to the other side of Venus from us.
By February 2012, Venus will climb up higher into the evening sky and will stay out even longer after dark. It’ll be at its highest above the sunset in March 2012, when Jupiter and Venus will stage an amazing conjunction in the western twilight sky. These two bright planets will lie about three degrees apart in the West in the constellation Aries. Venus will beam at magnitude -4.3, and Jupiter is a worthy companion at magnitude -2.1. The pairing will make for a lovely photo op.
On March 25, Venus, Jupiter and the thin crescent Moon will form a straight line in the western sky.
I was really happy that once again, one of my images was featured in the Amateur Astronomy Picture of the Day (AAPOD) website last December 9, 2011. It’s an image featuring the planets Venus and Mercury along with the thin Moon during a nice celestial grouping at dusk last October 28.
It also got included in an article posted in EarthSky.org. Deborah Byrd, founder and president of EarthSky sent me message through Facebook to ask permission to repost my image.
Moreover, another surprising news came in as I received a notification that the same image has won, along with another image of mine, in the first round of voting in the 2011 International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) Art Contest. Yay!
Here are the links:
- AAPOD: Moon, Venus, and Mercury at Dusk
- EarthSky: Three amazing images of young moon you’ll see tonight
- 2011 InOMN Art Contest
It was really inspiring for an amateur like me who doesn’t even own a decent camera fit for sky photography to have my image featured in such astronomy websites. Thank you, AAPOD, EarthSky and InOMN!
I hope this would encourage more astronomy enthusiasts who are also into sky photography to submit their images and share their interest to many people who might also find a new fondness for the night sky.
Perhaps I should start saving more to have that camera which I’ve been eyeing on for so long. All things in God’s time.
To the stars!
I was in the open area of the Trinoma Mall in Quezon City when I noticed this close pairing of the waxing gibbous moon (99% illuminated) and Jupiter last November 10, 2011. These two objects were ~6 degrees apart.
I never expected to see this celestial conjunction as the sky was too cloudy that night. Fortunately, I have already set up the camera (without the tripod) by the time the clouds moved away.
I really love to see close pairings of bright sky objects like this one.
As I prepared to observe the Orionid Meteor Shower last October 22, a nice celestial pairing of the waning crescent Moon (22% full) and the tiny planet Mars greeted my view. These two were roughly 8 degrees apart during this conjunction and were located just slightly above “the Sickle” in Leo. Unfortunately, the glow from the light-polluted city made the 1.2 magnitude Mars (on the upper left of the image) difficult to notice with the naked eye.
Mars appears to be like a plain bright red star right now that rises in the east during the wee hours after midnight. In the months ahead, Mars will brighten and will also rise earlier at night. By December 2011, this planet will climb over the eastern horizon before midnight. In January 2012, it’ll be up by mid-evening, and even sooner on February 2012 evenings.
Mars will come closest to Earth in March 2012. It will be out from dusk till dawn, shining about nine times more brightly than it does at present. Even so, Mars won’t be nearly as bright as the planets Venus or Jupiter.
I was walking past the Diliman Sunken Garden with someone last October 14 when I caught a glimpse of the Waning Gibbous Moon (94.6% full) close to bright Jupiter. Thank God that after several days of continuous rains, the skies have finally cleared that evening
These two objects which both dominate the night sky this month were just less than 15 degrees apart.
I was lucky to have been able to take a few images of this nice celestial conjunction since I always bring the camera with me. It was a bit challenging though, because I didn’t have my sturdy tripod during then to stabilize and elevate the camera.
The streak of light above Jupiter was just a passing airplane which happened to be included in the frame when I was doing the shot.
More photos below…
Special thanks to that someone who kept me company while I was taking photos that evening at the middle of the Sunken Garden.
I stayed up until dawn today (May 1, 2011) to watch the beautiful celestial grouping of the thin crescent Moon (5% illuminated) and the morning planets (Venus, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter). Luckily, the eastern sky was not cloudy when I went outside at 4:40 AM. But only the Moon which looked like a yellow crescent and Venus were only visible. The other planets were too dim and too low to be seen over our suburban place.
All pictures were taken using my Kodak C813 Digital Camera.
On the walk from our house to the street one afternoon, a nice sight in the western sky caught my eyes — the 27% illuminated waxing crescent Moon and a pink-colored sunlit contrail against a blue-violet sky. This contrast of colors looked just fascinating.
Fortunately, I brought my Kodak digital camera with me so I was able to take a picture of it. The image turned out to be a bit blurry though without using a sturdy tripod.
Notice that while both the Moon and the cloud were illuminated by the same Sun, the cloud was pink and the Moon was so white. The answer lies in the fact that the atmosphere absorbs and scatters the shorter (blue) wavelengths of light, while allowing the longer (red) wavelengths through. The low angle afternoon sunlight arriving at the cloud (contrail) had traveled through significantly more atmosphere than the more “pure” sunlight reflected by the Moon.
Amazed by the remarkable beauty of the Moon hanging on a perfect indigo sky one afternoon, I immediately set up the tripod and grabbed my trusty Kodak C813 8.0 megapixel digital camera to capture the view.
My camera is not suitable for taking images of distant objects such as the Moon especially during low light conditions. Nevertheless, I still tried my luck in getting a few relatively decent shots.
The Moon was nicely situated on the sky (almost directly overhead) that it appeared close to my favorite Avocado tree.
This 40% illuminated Moon was in the constellation Gemini during this apparition. While checking on the images, I saw that a star was visible on the upper left of the Moon — about 10 degrees away from it. After running Stellarium, I realized that it was the 1.93 magnitude star Alhena (or Gamma Geminorum) that is located on the left foot of the Twin Pollux.
I really need a camera upgrade I guess. Haha!
It feels great whenever there’s great opportunity like this to take photos of the night sky.
Anyway, with or without pictures the Moon has really never failed to amuse me.
My image of the Lunar Perigree or ‘Supermoon’ last March 19, 2011 just got featured in Discovery News 2011 Supermoon Readers’ Photographs. Yay!
It’s included in the slideshow found on this link.
Haha, I actually didn’t submitted mine so I wonder how it got there. I just received a pingback from the page to my blog the other day that’s why I learned about it.
I noticed that most of my frequent visitors were searching for the eclipses in the Philippines for 2011. Well then folks, I have listed below the eclipses that could be observed in the Philippines throughout the year.
Four partial solar and two total lunar eclipses will take place in 2011 but only the lunar eclipses will be visible in the Philippines. These two are both total lunar eclipses which means that during these events, we can actually see the entire disk of the Moon being covered by the Earth’s umbra — thus we can observe a nice Reddish Moon.
Total lunar eclipses are pretty rare events so be sure to plan your observation ahead of time and make the most out of this astronomical experience. (In the Philippines, the last one happened during May 5, 2004)
June 15 Total Lunar Eclipse
It will be visible completely over Africa, and Central Asia, visible rising over South America, western Africa, and Europe, and setting over eastern Asia. In western Asia, Australia and the Philippines, the lunar eclipse will be visible just before sunrise on June 16. (View NASA Map and Eclipse Information)
|Moon Enters Penumbra||01:24:27am||45 deg||212 deg S|
|Moon Enters Umbra||02:22:57am||37 deg||225 deg S|
|Moon Enters Totality||03:22:29am||26 deg||234 deg SW|
|Maximum Totality||04:13:44am||16 deg||240 deg SW|
|Moon Exits Totality||05:02:42am||06 deg||244 deg SW|
|Moonset||05:30:00am||00 deg||246 deg SW|
|Moon Exits Umbra (not visible)||06:02:14am||———-||———–|
|Moon Exits Penumbra (not visible)||07:00:41am||———-||———–|
|*The indicated times above are on June 16.|
|*Sunrise is at 05:26 AM.|
According to the ALP, “this eclipse is particularly special because the Moon passes almost exactly in front of the center of the Earth’s shadow during totality phase thus giving us local viewers in the Philippines a long totality time of around 100 minutes” (1 hr 40 mins) .
December 10 Total Lunar Eclipse
This eclipse will be visible from all of Asia and Australia, seen as rising over eastern Europe, and setting over northwest North America. (View NASA Eclipse Information)
Contact Times : (All in PHT= UT +8)
|Moon Enters Penumbra||19:33:36||31 deg||72 deg|
|Moon Enters Umbra||20:45:43||59 deg||72 deg|
|Moon Enters Totality||22:06:16||64 deg||67 deg|
|Maximum Totality||22:31:49||69 deg||63 deg|
|Moon Exits Totality||22:57:24||75 deg||55 deg|
|Moon Exits Umbra||00:17:58||79 deg||321 deg|
|Moon Exits Penumbra||01:29:57||65 deg||292 deg|
|Note: All eclipse stages are visible in the Philippines.|
Because I got too excited for this, I created a video simulation of the entire eclipse using Stellarium. The Moon is at the constellation Taurus during this event.
A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes behind the earth so that the earth blocks the sun’s rays from striking the moon. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, there is always a full moon the night of a lunar eclipse.
Unlike observing solar eclipses wherein you need adequate eye protection, lunar eclipses are safe to watch with the naked eye.
- NASA Eclipse Website
- Stellarium Planetarium software
- ALP Website
Tonight’s waxing gibbous moon resides inside the Winter Circle – an incredibly large star configuration made of six brilliant winter stars. Be sure to notice the variety in the colors of these stars.
The Winter Circle – sometimes called the Winter Hexagon – is not one of the 88 recognized constellations. Rather, it’s an asterism – a pattern of stars that’s fairly easy to recognize. Our sky chart cannot adequately convey the Winter Circle’s humongous size! It dwarfs the constellation Orion the Hunter, which is a rather large constellation, occupying the southwestern part of the Winter Circle pattern.
Last Jan. 25, Saturn, Spica and the Moon formed a beautiful triangular celestial grouping. During the following days, early risers can watch the waning crescent Moon pass bright Venus, with Antares and Scorpius looking on. Check southeastern sky a few hours before sunrise.
Location of the Moon in the predawn sky for the next few days:
Jan. 29 — Moon is near the red star Antares in the constellation Scorpius
Jan. 30 — Venus and Crescent Moon are almost 5 degrees apart
Jan. 31 — Moon will be located just above the “Teapot” asterism in Sagittarius
Feb. 1 — Moon and Mercury will be less than 10 degrees from each other
This is a good opportunity to spot these celestial objects because of their proximity with one another and because of their perfect location within the prominent constellations. Clear skies!
Reference: Stellarium Planetarium Software
Tonight’s sky (January 17, 2011) —- Find the waxing gibbous Moon (96% illuminated) surrounded by the stars of the bright Winter Constellations (Auriga, Taurus, Orion, Canis Minor, Canis Major, and Gemini). This beautiful celestial view will climb up to the zenith at around 10 PM local time.
Image: Stellarium (You may download this free planetarium software here.)
Jupiter and the waxing crescent Moon, separated by just 10 degrees last January 10, 2011.
Despite the thick cloud cover over our place, I was lucky to get these two shots before both objects set:P
Photos taken using my point-and-shoot Kodak C813 8.0 MP Digital Camera.
A beautiful celestial display of Mercury and Venus with the thin waning crescent Moon brightened up the first two mornings of 2011.
Heavy smog caused by the cold, foggy weather and smoke generated by firecrackers and fireworks from the New Year’s Eve celebration blanketed our suburban place during the early morning of January 1st. Despite this, I was still lucky enough to have witnessed even just the nice pairing of Venus and the Moon in the Eastern sky, a few minutes before sunrise. Below are some of the images I took using my point-and-shoot Kodak C813 8.0 megapixel digital camera. Images were a bit blurry because I didn’t use a tripod.
A thin old Moon to the lower right of the planet Venus (1/1/11 at 5:47 AM) Mercury, the red star Antares and Saturn were difficult to see because of the smog. Click on the images to enlarge.
I also posted about this skygazing guide over my Twitter and Facebook account and I was happy that some of my fellow amateur astronomers and UP AstroSoc friends have also tried capturing images of this sky event over their own places. With their permission, I have included their pictures into this post.
Moon and Venus over Pasig City, Philippines – images by Elaine Tacubanza
Happy Hatsuhinode (初日の出) – the first sunrise of the year – by Kathleen Rosario (Parañaque City, Philippines)
Another friend, Bea Banzuela, did her skygazing during the predawn of January 2. Aside from taking landscape photographs of this event, she also used the 4.5″ Newtonian Telescope of UP AstroSoc to view the Moon and Venus over her place at Marikina City. Notice the lovely earthshine on the Moon in her pictures.
This event was indeed a nice celestial treat to start the year off.
Because the Moon looked big and bright during its last full phase – after the December 21, 2010 Lunar Eclipse – we took the opportunity to take pictures of it while the clouds were not in the mood to hide its cosmic beauty.
All images were taken using Canon PowerShot SX20 IS and were processed in Registax.
To the moon and beyond!
The final mornings of 2010 (during Dec. 30 and 31) will feature the waning crescent moon with the planets Mercury, Venus and Saturn in the eastern sky before sunrise.
Depending on where you live worldwide, Venus and the moon will rise above the eastern horizon some 3 to 4 hours before sunrise, to light up the wee morning hours until daybreak. For Philippine observers, the screenshot from Stellarium above shows that the Moon – Venus separation is ~20 degrees on December 30, 2010. During this time, the moon will also be ~20 degrees below Saturn. The bright stars Spica in Virgo and Arcturus in Bootes could also be found within this celestial grouping.
Venus is very bright and easy to find. If you look at Venus with a telescope before dawn, you’ll see this planet shining as a wide waxing crescent.
By December 31, the moon and Venus will shine nearly side by side with only 10 degrees of angular separation. Also on this date, Mercury which was in evening dusk during early December will now be in the predawn sky, closer to the horizon. In the screenshot above, it was ~8 degrees above the horizon and ~25 degrees away from Venus. December 2010 provides you with the unique opportunity to catch Mercury in both the evening and morning sky in a single month. Using binoculars will help you see this tiny planet.
Clear skies to all!
Note: The general rule amateur astronomers use is that the width of your fist from top to bottom held at arm’s length equals about 10 degrees. Read more about this here.