Wandering through the realms of the cosmos, pondering its huge vastness

Posts tagged “conjunctions

A Triple Celestial Treat: My Image in AAPOD, EarthSky, and InOMN Photo Contest

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:

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!

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Third in AAPOD!

My image, “Moon-Mars Conjunction Over the Light-Polluted City” was chosen as Amateur Astronomy Picture of the Day (AAPOD) last November 22, 2011. Click on this link to view the image.

Yay! 🙂

 


Moon-Jupiter Conjunction Over the UP Sunken Garden

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 🙂

Moon, Jupiter and a passing airplane

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. 😉


Skywatching Highlights: March 2011

March is filled with several exciting conjunctions, lunar occultations, planetary displays and other celestial events which will take place alongside with some big astronomy-related projects geared toward promoting the appreciation of the night sky to many people globally.

March Event Time Notes
5 New Moon 04:45 AM
6 Moon at apogee (farthest distance to Earth) 04:00 PM
7 Final close pairing of Jupiter and the moon for 2011
10 Moon shines near the Pleiades star cluster
11 Moon near star Aldebaran
12 Moon in between Capella and Betelgeuse
12 Juno at Opposition 6:00 PM
13 Moon shines in front of Winter Hexagon
13-18 Close pairing of Mercury and Jupiter dusk These appear low in western horizon
13 First Quarter Moon 07:45 AM
15 Gamma Normids Active from Feb 25 – Mar 22. ZHR 6
16 Minimum separation Mercury Jupiter dusk Mercury 2° to the left of Jupiter
16 Mercury 2° North of the Moon 01:00 AM
17 Lunar occultation of omicron Leonis Start: 6:20 PM End: 07:10 PM
17 Moon and Regulus are less than 10 degrees apart
19 Sun-Earth Day
20 Full Moon 02:10 AM This will also be the largest full moon of the year because it will be near perigee, its closest point to the Earth.
21 Vernal Equinox 07:20 AM
22

6th worldwide GLOBE at Night 2011 campaign

March 22 -April 4 for the Northern Hemisphere

23 Moon near red star Antares before dawn
23 Mercury greatest elongation East(19°) 09:00 AM
26 Last Quarter Moon 08:10 PM
26 Earth Hour 2011 8:30 PM
31 Venus 6° South of the Moon 09:00 PM

Note: Dates and sky displays are based on Philippine settings. Philippine Standard Time (PST) = UT + 8

 

Astronomy Terms:

Occultation – An event that occurs when one object is hidden by another object that passes between it and the observer.

Opposition – When two celestial bodies are on opposite sides of the sky when viewed from a particular place (usually the Earth).

  • it is visible almost all night, rising around sunset, culminating around midnight and setting around sunrise;
  • at this point of its orbit it is roughly[1] closest to the Earth, making it appear bigger and brighter.
  • the half of the planet visible from Earth is then completely illuminated (“full planet”)
  • the opposition effect increases the reflected light from bodies with unobscured rough surfaces
Greatest  (Eastern) Elongation When an inferior planet is visible after sunset, it is near its greatest eastern elongation. A planet’s elongation is the angle between the Sun and the planet, as viewed from Earth
Vernal Equinox The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is also the first day of spring (vernal equinox) in the northern hemisphere and the first day of fall (autumnal equinox) in the southern hemisphere

 

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References:

  1. EarthSky.org
  2. PAGASA Astronomical Diary — March 2011
  3. Philippine Celestial Events for 2011 (by PAS)
  4. SeaSky.org
  5. Wikipedia Encyclopedia

Close Pairing of Venus and the Moon During Early March

 

Moon and Venus about 10 degrees above th eastern horizon at 4:30 AM PHT (UT+8)

About 2 hours before sunrise on March 1, spot the 12% illuminated Moon close to the bright planet Venus in the eastern sky. These two objects will be roughly 2 degrees apart of each other and could be found near the prominent constellation, Sagittarius.

As a bonus, if the sky is clear at dawn on Tuesday and Wednesday – March 1st and 2nd – you can still see this lovely pairing even in broad daylight. The Moon is often visible during the day amid the blue sky but  is that true of Venus, too? The answer is yes. 🙂

Venus is indeed visible to the unaided eye even in broad daylight especially during mornings, assuming that the air is reasonably free of haze. In fact, it’s startlingly easy to see — but equally hard to find.

The easiest chance to observe Venus during the day is when it happens to be near the Moon which is easier to locate.

For Philippine sky observers, the following is a rough estimate of the angular distance of these two objects from March 1 – 3.

Date

Degree of Separation Percent Illumination of the Moon

March 1

2 12

March 2

7

6

March 3 15

2

The Moon will move to the lower left of Venus as the days progress.

You may also look for Venus near the Moon using a pair of binoculars.

Clear skies!

 

References:

SkyandTelescope.com — Observing Blog — “See Venus in Broad Daylight!”

Paulsadowski.com — Moon Phases


Moon in the Predawn Sky this Week (Jan. 28 – Feb. 1)

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


Moon and Jupiter – January 10, 2011

9:26 PM (PHT)

9:10 PM

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.

 


New Year’s Celestial Treat

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. 🙂

From L to R : Mercury, Moon and Venus

Mercury, Moon and Venus with a few bright stars of Scorpius

 

A few minutes before sunrise

Thin Moon through the finderscope

Moon taken through the eyepiece of Datascope (afocal method)

 

This event was indeed a nice celestial treat to start the year off. 😀


Celestial Grouping on May 2011

Here is another rare planetary grouping that is hard to miss! 🙂

As soon as I came across this website shared by Daniel Fischer and read about the proximity of Venus and Jupiter to each other  on May 2011, I immediately ran my Stellarium software and simulated planetary positions throughout that month.

I got excited when I saw the nice planetary grouping of Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Mercury (you can add Uranus and Neptune to your count if you have binoculars or a small telescope) with the thin waning crescent Moon during the predawn hours of May 1 and 2.

Uranus could be found a few degrees above Venus but is too faint to see. Image: Stellarium screenshot

All of these celestial objects will lie just within the constellation Pisces, separated by only a few degrees from each other. 😀 This is a good opportunity to spot all these planets close together during one occasion.

In order to observe this, you must have a clear eastern horizon because they will appear very low in the sky. Also, be sure to bring a pair of binoculars to help you see these objects better and wake up early to avoid the glare of the sun.

Venus is, as always, the brightest and most visible of the planets, and it can be your guide to spotting the others. About half way between Venus and the rising sun is Jupiter, the second brightest planet.

Mars will be a tiny speck just above Jupiter, and Mercury another tiny speck about half way between Jupiter and Venus. Uranus is slightly more than one binocular field above and to the right of Venus, and Neptune is much farther to the right, about 40 degrees away in Aquarius.

The planetary grouping is visible from April 23 to May 30.

Checkout the eastern sky during the next mornings. Note: The time is in PST (UT+8)

Astrologers have always been fascinated by planetary alignments, and the doomsayers of 2012 have been prophesying a mystical alignment on Dec. 21, 2012. They view planetary alignments as foretellers of disasters. Modern amateur astronomers look forward to them as nothing more than grand photo ops. In fact, the modern tools of astronomers, such as planetarium softwares, show otherwise: absolutely no alignment at any time in 2012.

Happy observing 😀