Monday, October 26, 2015

Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter

 I've had this on my calendar for some time and I've been watching each morning when I take out the trash. Venus and Jupiter have been inching closer together every day. Today (10/26/15) they are just a single degree apart in the sky.

 Here's what Stellarium showed for 7 am (looking due east):

 Had I thought of looking, in addition to Mars (as shown), Mercury was also visible. I saw it last Tuesday, low in the east, as I drove to the YMCA in West Carrollton.
 I went outside at 7 am with my camera already fixed atop a tripod and I walked into the back yard ...

 This looks exactly like the Stellarium sky chart for the same instant. Click on the picture for a higher-resolution version which shows ruddy Mars better.

I aimed the camera a bit differently for this shot and changed both the aperture and exposure length as an experiment.

 Widening the view, I am just behind the garage which has a night light glowing on the ceiling and provides the light seen through the window. This is nearly a normal vision shot and shows how Venus and Jupiter appear to be nearly touching.

 For a final shot I walked to our north lawn and shot this towards the Scotch pines that line the road at the eastern edge of our property. It was quite dark as I took this. The longer time exposure (ten seconds, I believe) brings out the sun's influence on the horizon, nearly an hour before it was to rise.
 I suppose I would not have been able to see Mercury even if I had looked for it. There were bands of clouds obscuring the view. Soon after I took these these shots, more clouds gathered in the sky and the view was greatly degraded. So the timing was perfect for these photos.

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