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.
A few minutes after sunset last October 18, 2012, two reddish objects were found near the waxing crescent Moon (12% illuminated) in the western sky. These two bright red objects were actually the planet Mars, and the bright star Antares in the constellation Scorpius. Mars was about 2 degrees to the upper left from the Moon, and Antares about 4 degrees to the lower left from Mars.
Mars and Antares are often mistaken for each other because of their similarity in appearance. In fact, the name Antares means “Rival of Mars” in Greek.
All photos were taken using Canon Powershot SX40 HS. Some if the images were blurry. My camera got out of focus and i didn’t notice till it was too late! 😦
Click on the images to see larger versions.
The sky was extra clear that night. Amazed by the beauty of the starry night sky, I took my camera out again and snapped this photo while walking home:
During the early morning hours of August 12, Philippine sky observers had a great chance of witnessing a relatively rare occultation of Jupiter (and some of its largest satellites) by our Moon. In astronomy, an occultation is an event that occurs when an apparently larger body passes in front of an apparently smaller one. In this case, the moon passed in front of the planet Jupiter; the pair being visible in the morning sky in the Philippines about 5 hours and 53 minutes before the Sun. At the moment of closest approach, the Moon was at mag -11.3, and Jupiter at mag -2.2, both in the constellation Taurus.
Despite the presence of hazy skies and thin clouds, we were lucky to have been able to observed the occultation event. Once I located the moon with my naked eye, I immediately pointed my superzoom camera to it and took an image. I found Jupiter close to the moon but it was covered with haze. A few minutes later, Jupiter slipped behind the bright lunar limb and was visible no longer. Half an hour later, I tried to capture a video of the reappearance of Jupiter, but the clouds had thickened to the point where I could no longer find the moon. When the clouds had finally gone out of sight, Jupiter was already emerging from behind the dark limb.
Still, considering the less-than-ideal conditions, it was quite a successful observation. 🙂
Sky condition: 70-80% cloudy
Camera used: Canon Powershot SX40 HS
I observed this event from Marikina City.
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!
Global Astronomy Month 2012 (www.gam-awb.org) is merely a month away. Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) has organized three exciting events in March to do the warm-ups!
Spread the word and join in.
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“Hello Red Planet”
3-5 March 2012
Mars will come into Opposition on March 3, 2012 in the constellation Leo with its face fully illuminated by the Sun and two days later, on March 5, 2012, the planet will have its closest approach to Earth during this apparition: 100.78 million km (0.6737 AU)—the best time to say “Hello” to the Red Planet.
“Conjunction of Glory”
13 – 15 March 2012
Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets in the sky, will be within 3 degrees of each other in the evening sky of 15 March 2012 at 10:37:46 UTC. This will be quite a spectacle, as both planets are very bright—and this will be a fantastic visual and photographic opportunity, as it’s not often that you get the brightest planets in our Solar System so close together.
The next Venus-Jupiter conjunction after this one falls on May 28, 2013.
“March Equinox 2012”
20 March 2012
The March equinox occurs at 05:14 UTC, Tuesday 20 March. The Sun will shine directly down on the Earth’s 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.
Wherever you are on 20 March, 2012, celebrate your season in the cycle of life with Astronomers Without Borders. Enjoy your own unique Equinox this year—and why not tell others about the experience?
To the stars! 🙂
More about GAM 2012:
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.
Clear skies! 🙂
All photos were taken by me using Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH2 digital camera.
Jupiter (upper right) and Venus (left) Feb. 10, 2012 6:50 PM
Jupiter and Venus, the two great and famous luminaries of heaven are now 30° apart in the western sky during early evening and are moving closer to each other by roughly one degree each day.
Jupiter, king of planets, has been our constant evening companion for the last six months. Only Venus outshines Jupiter among the planets and stars. Venus and Jupiter are so bright you might think you’ve witnessed a double supernova beaming through the evening twilight. But, no, it’s just the two brightest planets in our own solar system.
Over the next couple weeks, Venus and Jupiter will continuously reign the evening sky; only the moon will be brighter. The planets will continue to get closer and closer to one another until March.
On the evenings of February 24, 25 and 26, the thin lunar crescent will pass close to Venus and Jupiter.
By March 14 and 15, these two bright objects will be on a spectacular conjunction — the closest in 2012. The next Venus-Jupiter conjunction after this one falls on May 28, 2013.
At the moment of closest approach, Venus will be at mag -4.9, and Jupiter at mag -2.1, both in the constellation Aries. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.
After this event, Venus and Jupiter will remain close throughout the month of March 2012. They are like twin beacons – two very bright planets – near each other in the west as soon as the sun goes down.
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.
Clear skies! 🙂
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. 🙂
Despite the 50% chance of a thunderstorm and a full moon, I and my UP AstroSoc friends braved our way to Bataan last August to observe this year’s Perseid Meteor Shower during its peak event.
We stayed at Stella Maris Beach Resort in Bagac to observe overnight.
The sky was totally overcast when we came. Nevertheless, we were fortunate that the Full Moon was already low in the west when the eastern sky cleared up around 3:00 to 5:00 AM just in time for the Perseids.
We were able to spot a few fireballs zooming across the region near Perseus and around the Winter Hexagon. The highest meteor count that we had was 23.
We also got to observe Jupiter (with its Galilean Moons!) and the planet Mars though a friend’s Dobsonian telescope which we fondly call Lulin.
Here are some images of Jupiter taken through afocal method:
We finished our Perseid viewing at dawn and left the place a couple of hours after to tour around Bataan. Some of the places we visited were the Bagac Friendship Tower, Dunsulan Falls in Pilar, and the Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor) at the summit of Mt. Samat.
Mount Samat was the site of the most vicious battle against the Japanese Imperial Army in 1942 during the Battle of Bataan. The shrine there was built as a symbol of courage and gallantry to all Filipino soldiers who shed their blood in defending our beloved country to foreign invaders. I felt honored to have been able to visit this place and pay respect to my fellow Filipinos who died during the war.
Going at the top of Mount Samat was the best experience ever! It felt like I can almost touch the clouds with my two bare hands when I was up there. I also love the cool gentle breeze and the nice view (you can see the whole town of Bataan and the Manila Bay from there). My friends and I were very excited as we climbed up the stairs going up the cross. It was a bit tiring though.
Overall, I consider this trip as one of the most memorable trips I ever had. 🙂 Aside from successfully catching the Perseids despite of the bad weather, we were also blessed with a great opportunity to visit some of the historical places in the country and experience nature at its finest. It was truly a sweet escape!
Thanks to Elaine, Kiel, Bea, Josh, Saeed, Ron and Pinyong for being with me in this endeavor. 🙂
*All images above courtesy of Bea Banzuela