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!
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 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:
- AAPOD: Moon, Venus, and Mercury at Dusk
- EarthSky: Three amazing images of young moon you’ll see tonight
- 2011 InOMN Art Contest
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!
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!
The month of May will show up the finest planetary conjunctions of the year. Naked-eye planets line-up in the eastern horizon before sunrise. On May 1, 9, 13, and 30 at 5:00 AM, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus and Neptune will be found lining-up above the eastern horizon as shown in Figures 2, 3, 4, and 5 respectively. Uranus and Neptune will be needing a star map and a binocular or a modest-sized telescope for its proper viewing. The planets will lie among the background stars of the constellation Pisces, the Fish, except for Neptune, which will be found at the constellation of Aquarius, the Water-Bearer.
Saturn will be visible in the evening sky throughout the month. The Ringed planet will be located among the background stars of the constellation Virgo, the Virgin.
|1||Mars Jupiter at minimum separation||dawn|
|2||Jupiter 6° south of the Moon||03:00 AM|
|3||New Moon||04:50 PM|
|5||The 3% thin crescent Moon will lie in between the star groups Hyades and Pleiades in the constellation Taurus in the west.||dusk|
|7||Mercury at greatest western elongation||dawn|
|7||Eta Aquarids : Active from Apr 19 to May 28 — ZHR 70|
|8||Venus Mercury at minimum separation||dawn|
|11||First Quarter Moon||04:35 AM|
|11||Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter Conjunction – The three planets will form a 2-degree long vertical line in the early morning sky. The planet Mars will also be visible nearby. Look to the east near sunrise.||dawn|
|11||Mercury Jupiter at minimum separation||dawn|
|12||Venus Jupiter at minimum separation||dawn|
|14||Saturn 8° north of the Moon||11:00 PM|
|17||Full Moon (called Full Flower Moon)||07:10 PM|
|18-26||Mercury Venus Mars conjunction||dawn|
|18||Mercury Venus at minimum separation||dawn|
|22||Jupiter 8° below the Moon||dawn|
|25||Last Quarter Moon||02:50PM|
|31||Mars 4° South of the Moon||dawn|
Clear skies! 🙂
- PAGASA Astronomical Diary
- Philippine Celestial Events for 2011 by PAS
- 2011 Astronomy Calendar – SeaSky.org
I stayed up until dawn today (May 1, 2011) to watch the beautiful celestial grouping of the thin crescent Moon (5% illuminated) and the morning planets (Venus, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter). Luckily, the eastern sky was not cloudy when I went outside at 4:40 AM. But only the Moon which looked like a yellow crescent and Venus were only visible. The other planets were too dim and too low to be seen over our suburban place.
All pictures were taken using my Kodak C813 Digital Camera.
Clear skies! 🙂