Last January 22, 2013, the waxing gibbous moon appeared near the bright planet Jupiter in the evening sky.
As seen from the Philippines, the Moon and Jupiter made a close approach within roughly 5 degrees of each other. Some folks in the Southern Hemisphere, however have seen Jupiter completely disappear behind the moon – an occultation.
During this event, the Moon was at mag -12.3, and Jupiter at mag -2.6, both in the constellation Taurus.
The sky condition was mostly cloudy. When the clouds parted, I was able to a couple of wide angle images which includes the two famous star clusters in Taurus — the Hyades and the Pleiades. In another image, the moon was shot at two different exposures to show the amount of separation between it and Jupiter.
Images were taken from Bulacan, Philippines around 8:40 – 9:00 pm PHT.
Tonight, the planet Venus shining bright in the western sky appeared close to the dipper-shaped open star cluster, Pleiades.
Just above them was the V-shaped Hyades, another noticeable cluster. In mythology, the Hyades are the half sisters to the Pleiades, the daughters of Atlas.
Image taken with Nikon D60 DSLR camera (24 mm, f/5.6, 20 sec. exp. at ISO 1250).
More photos below:
Venus and Jupiter are slowly drifting apart after appearing side by side at twilight last week. Venus which now hangs above Jupiter will be climbing higher in our sky over the next three months, while Jupiter continuously sinks into the horizon. Both are in front of the constellation Aries the Ram.
For the past week, I’ve been setting up my camera and tripod after sunset to take photos of these two planets, with weather permitting of course. It was unfortunate however, that the skies were overcast during the time of their closest encounter and I only got the chance to see them again last March 16 when Venus has already glided past Jupiter.
By April 2, Venus, placing about 15 degrees above Jupiter will head toward the Pleiades (M45) in Taurus and will spend the next few days near the dipper-shaped star cluster. It will be a fantastic photo opportunity for avid skygazers as this event happens only every 8 years.
I am hoping that the sky condition will get better on the coming days ahead. Clear skies!
This morning, I went outside again at around 4:30 AM to check the sky condition. I’ve been doing this for about a couple of days now in hopes of seeing a clear sky despite the continuous rains over the past few weeks.
It’s really creepy out there — wind’s blowing strong & it’s totally dark! But thank God it wasn’t too cloudy and I was able to do some timelapse photography just before the stars start fading away against the blue sky at dawn.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the coming weeks. Clear skies!
This month’s full moon on the 22nd is a Blue Moon, but don’t expect it to be blue — the term has nothing to do with the color of our closest celestial neighbor.
In the 21st century, the term Blue Moon has two meanings. According to the popular definition*, it is the second Full Moon to occur in a single calendar month. The Old Farmer’s Almanac on the other hand defined a Blue Moon as the third full moon in a season with four full moons. Both definitions are now widely accepted.
The November 22, 2010 Blue Moon is the third of four full moons between the September 2010 equinox and December 2010 solstice.
The relative rarity of this phenomenon is the reason why the idiomatic expression “once in a blue moon” is used to describe the rarity of an event.
Blue moons have no astronomical significance, Greg Laughlin, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz told Inquirer.net. “‘Blue moon’ is just a name in the same sense as a ‘hunter’s moon’ or a ‘harvest moon,’” according to him.
However, this month’s Blue moon will be more notable because the spectacular open star clusters, the Pleiades and their sisters the Hyades would be seen just about 10 degrees away from the Full Moon on that night.
To most meteor shower enthusiasts and lunar photographers, a Full moon is less interesting because it interferes with meteor shower observations due to its brightness. This also makes the moon look flat, making the shadows of the lunar craters and mountains hard to see.
Anyway, here are ways to enjoy a Full Moon’s night from amateur astronomer, AstroBob .
There’s always so much interesting history to learn about the Moon and how we view it from Earth, and learning about it makes me appreciate the Moon just a little bit more each time I look at it.
So relax and enjoy the gorgeous sight of this month’s Blue Moon and try to do something special to mark this event on the night of November 22.
* The idea of a Blue Moon as the second full moon in a month stemmed from the March 1946 issue of Sky and Telescope magazine, which contained an article called “Once in a Blue Moon” by James Hugh Pruett. Pruett was using a 1937 Maine Farmer’s Almanac, but he simplified the definition. He wrote: “Seven times in 19 years there were — and still are — 13 full moons in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon.”
Later, this definition of Blue Moon was also popularized by a book for children by Margot McLoon-Basta and Alice Sigel, called “Kids’ World Almanac of Records and Facts,” published in New York by World Almanac Publications, in 1985. The second-full-moon-in-a-month definition was also used in the board game Trivial Pursuit. source: EarthSky.org
The Pleiades (M45) is an open star cluster containing middle-aged hot B-type (blue-white) stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky.
This star cluster is also known as the ‘Seven Sisters’, daughters of the titan Atlas and the sea-nymph Pleione in Greek mythology. In Filipino culture, this is referred as ‘The Rosary’ because of its appearance.
Tonight, the Pleiades can be found near the waning gibbous moon. Look for these two rising at the eastern sky around 8 PM (PST).
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Image taken by Andre Obidos