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 tonight, find the thin waxing crescent Moon near Jupiter in the western sky. Degree of separation is ~8 degrees.
For Philippine skywatchers, Jupiter can be found hanging about 13 degrees above the horizon at 6:40 PM just as shown in the picture. Jupiter is right at the end of this memorable apparition so spot it while you can. It will be lost to the twilight by the third week of the month and in solar conjunction in early April.
Also, if the sky condition tonight is good we may also have the chance to see the earthshine — a smoky glow on the dark portion of the crescent Moon. It is caused by sunlight that reflects off the Earth onto the Moon’s night side and occurs when the Moon is a thin crescent.
Clear skies! 🙂
image created using Stellarium
I and my friends were about to have our dinner at the very nice Casa Verde Restaurant in Cebu City when we spotted this close pairing of the Moon and Jupiter last February 7, 2011. 🙂 These two objects were roughly about 7 degrees apart.
We were lucky to have seen this conjunction despite the poor sky condition that night. 🙂