Thursday, January 31, 2008

Venus and Jupiter, part 4

The two morning planets, Venus and Jupiter, are almost at their closest to one another. Tomorrow morning, they'll be nearly on top of each other. Be sure to use binoculars for a more detailed view.

The shot above was taken Thursday at 6:35 a.m.

Such is our view from Earth...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Venus mingles with Jupiter, pt. 3

Venus continues its slow slide towards Jupiter. In this image which was taken Monday morning at 6:39, Venus is the bright object in the upper right. By Friday, both planets appear next to each other. Now, we just need to worry about the weather!

Such is our view from Earth...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Venus and Jupiter mingle, part 2

Venus continues to slide towards Jupiter. This shot was taken at 6:40 a.m. on January 25. Keep an eye on these two planets!

Such is our view from Earth...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Jupiter mingles with Venus

In the last few mornings of January and the first few in February, Jupiter appears to slowly pass brilliant Venus shining in the southeastern dawn sky. For the next two weeks, Jupiter approaches Venus — moving a little closer each morning. Finally, on the first morning in February they nearly merge.

In this image taken on January 21, Venus is to the upper right while Jupiter rises above the tree line.

Keep a watch on this and dress warmly!

Such is our view from Earth...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Moon and Mars

As the near full moon rises in the east at sunset on January 19, it is positioned just to the north of Mars. Even though Mars is the 3rd brightest object in the sky at that time, it is difficult to see next to the brilliant moon. Even so, give it a try. When you view these two celestial objects, you are looking at the surfaces of two worlds, one our satellite and the other a very different planet than ours. And keep in mind that Mars is 270 times farther than our familiar moon!

What about the 2nd brightest object? That's Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. It can be found above the southeastern horizon at about 8 pm.

Such is our view from Earth...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Take a cold meteor shower!

Friday morning before sunrise gives meteor observers a chance to see a relatively unknown shower, the Quadrantids. These seems to originate from near the tip of the handle of the Big Dipper which rises around midnight. Look after 1 am in the northeast. The rate for these may reach 120 per hour. However, this number includes the dimmer meteors and the ones that you don't catch streaking behind you. A better number would be 1/3 that top value, placing them around 40 per hour. Nevertheless, this is one of the year's best meteor events.

If you haven't become frozen by 5:00 a.m., you'll also see the crescent moon and brilliant Venus rising in the southeast. This promises to be an inspiring sight to start your day!

Such is the view from Earth...