16 March 2012

Jupiter and Venus

If you've been looking in a generally westerly direction in the early evening, you've, no doubt noticed the two exceptionally bright 'stars'.  Those are Jupiter and Venus, also exceptionally close to each other.  On one view, they're awfully close -- about 3 degrees, or 1/30th of the distance between directly overhead and the horizon.  To a different view, however, they're very far apart -- about 6 full moons would fit between them.

Technology keeps advancing.  In the 1970s, it was about all I could do to get a photograph of a nearly full moon through my telescope.  A fair amount of patience was needed to get the focus right, avoid contaminating light, and so forth.  Below is my phone photo of Jupiter (the fainter one) and Venus.  I was in a well-lit parking lot, and it wasn't much past sunset (hence the bright lower portion of the photo), and had just aimed the phone in the general direction of the planets.

I'll invite you all to contribute your own photos of the planets. 


jg said...

Here's a photo of the conjunction with Mercury added to the mix.



Larry Hamilton said...

Mars is very bright these nights too, high in the East as you're watching Jupiter and Venus to the West.

Robert Grumbine said...

Thanks JG. As usual, a nice graphic.

Larry -- thanks for mentioning that. I've only just started noticing Mars myself. (More trees to the east from my house.) It looks like Mars is just enough fainter than Venus and Jupiter to elude my phone's camera.