Last February 26, 2012, the crescent Moon joined the other two brightest objects in the night sky – Jupiter and Venus – 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 sky show dazzled a lot of skywatchers around the world during the weekend.
I have always been fascinated with celestial conjunctions. Hence, I immediately headed to SM Mall of Asia (near the Manila Bay area) after my on-the-job training in Makati City to take pictures of this event.
Traveling around the city—especially during the busiest evening rush hour period is one hell of a headache. Nonetheless, all the effort was worth it. 🙂
When we came, big dark clouds threatened our view. As the brightest objects in the night sky, Venus, Jupiter and the Moon can shine through urban lights, fog, and even some clouds. During that time, however they were hardly visible behind the clouds.
Fortunately, the skies cleared up just in time and we saw the awesome celestial trio. Thank God!
Once the moon retreats from view, Jupiter and Venus will continue growing closer. The gap will narrow to 10 degrees by the end of February until they pass each other in mid-March. On March 13 and 14, Jupiter and Venus reach their closest distance to each other. They will lie only three degrees apart. That’s just about the width of a finger and a half at arms length.
March 26, 2012: Venus, Jupiter and the Moon align | Image : Stellarium
By March 26, a crescent moon will join them once again, producing another brilliant sky display visible at twilight.
Don’t miss it!
Last October 28, 2011 I immediately headed to the SM Mall of Asia after our 2-day sem planning in Makati to take an image of this nice celestial grouping shortly after sunset. Sleeplessness failed to hinder me 😛
It features the thin Young Moon and the two inner planets, Venus and Mercury hanging near each other in the western sky at dusk.
I was really fortunate to have been able to catch this sky display just before darkness came. *Traffic in the city really sucks.*
Anyway, I hope the skies will always be this clear. 🙂
To the stars!
For the celebration of the International Observe the Moon Night 2010, I decided to invite my fellow amateurs from UP AstroSoc to do our observation in an area behind the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City which was also facing Manila Bay. The place has a very nice view of the western sky and it is in fact, known as one of the best places to watch the sun set. 😀
We went to the mall as early as 4pm to visit a Book Fair which was ongoing then at the mall’s convention center. There were lots of good books there which were in relatively lower prices including Astronomy books! I almost got tempted to buy one for myself. 😛 Haha.
By 5:30 PM, we went outside the mall to view the sunset. Luckily, the heavens granted my wish and it didn’t rain that day. As we were crossing a bridge on the way out, we saw the breath-taking view of the setting sun! (partly covered in clouds though)
One of my friends, Bea Banzuela, created a time-lapse video of the spectacular view:
The moon then was already shining brightly near the zenith.
As the sky grew darker, we took advantage of our location by taking numerous landscape and wide-angle shots of the moon. After several hours, the moon was just about 40 degrees above the western horizon. Its reflection on the water was very nice. Surrounding constellations like Sagittarius and Scorpius were noticeable too despite the bright glare of the waxing gibbous moon.
We had planned to stay there until the moon set but, since that would happen at around 2 in the morning, we left earlier than planned.
I would like to thank and congratulate the international organizers of this first InOMN. This event was truly an amazing way for us to see the moon in a different light and appreciate our closest neighbor in space.
Hoping for another successful year for the InOMN in 2011!
To the moon and beyond! 😀