Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Last phase of the moon, plus 2 planets

I admit I am out of my depth here, as a non-skywatcher. But I could not resist attempting to capture this image, just after sunset, tonight. (Click to enlarge)
I heard Fred Watson, from the Anglo-Australian Observatory (at Sidings Springs, NSW) on the radio a few days ago commenting that there would be two planets near the moon, over the next few days. Normally I ignore Fred's interesting predictions, simply because of my local sky's predilection for fogginess. Sidings Springs is well located in a dry climatic zone, where clear skies are the norm. Robertson is not like that.

However, tonight I got lucky (in an astronomical sense).

I have checked with the Fred's personal home page, and found a link to a table which tells me that it was very likely Venus and Jupiter which were visible above the Moon. My shots were taken at 8:53pm AEST. Mercury and Mars had already set at this stage - besides, neither was the "red planet".

The Moon seems to be in its last phase, and probably there will be new moon (invisible) either tomorrow or the next day. So I was lucky that the sky was clear tonight, so I could see this pretty sky.

Apologies for the "graininess" of the image. The image was hand held (on the railing of the back deck), with an extreme ISO setting, to allow in as much light as possible, on an F 5.6 aperture, and a time of 1/13th of a second - as slow as I dared go, hand held.

My friend, and local Robertson Sky Watcher, Chris has sent me this information and links. DJW

Space Weather News for Monday, Dec. 1, 2008

When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look south. Beaming through the twilight is one of the prettiest things you'll ever see--a tight three-way conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon. The event is visible from all parts of the world, even from light-polluted cities. People in New York and Hong Kong will see it just as clearly as astronomers watching from remote mountaintops.

The great conjunction offers something extra to Europeans. For more than an hour on Monday evening, the crescent Moon will actually eclipse Venus. Astronomers call such an event a "lunar occultation." Venus emerging from the dark edge of the Moon is a remarkably beautiful sight. Sky watchers across Europe will be able to see this happen.

Visit for photos, webcasts and more information.


mick said...

A very nice photo - you make me want to go out tonight and see what is possible to get tonight. Thanks for putting up the camera data too - that should make it a bit more hopeful for me.

GreenFaith Australia... said...

Thank you very much for HT, Denis. Will go out shortly when it gets dark. At the moment the eastern suburbs of Melbourne are thick with cloud with an occasional glimpse of blue sky. I recall any occasion some years ago when I lived at Bluewater - just north of Townsville between Halifax Bay and the World Heritage listed rainforest - when I experienced the conjunction. The sky was dry and clear and, of course, away from bright city lights.

Blessings and bliss

Mosura said...

Nice shot. I took a few snaps last night but haven't looked at them yet to see if they turned out.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mosura
I am waiting.
Night sky photography is its own speciality which I cannot participate in at present. A friend loaned me a tripod, but my camera has a different mount to the head on the tripod. One day i shall fix the problem.

Duncan said...

Thanks for the tip Denis, got a good shot last night, put the camera on the tripod, aperture priority, came out well.