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Archive for March, 2012


Above: 9:16 AM, March 30, 2012. Our unusually mild winter has given way to an early spring, for which I’m truly thankful!

Below: 1:03 AM CDT March 31, 2012 (6:03 UT). 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click for larger view.

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8:05 PM CDT March 25, 2012 (1:05 UT 3-26-12). 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click for larger view.

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It’s been over a month. Yes, I still live on this planet, and I’m briefly breaking my hiatus or “holding pattern” just because this has been such a lovely evening to view the skies. Below: Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon in the western sky at 8:21 PM, March 24, 2012:


Above: The thinnest crescent Moon and earliest waxing Moon I have ever photographed, with the 60mm refractor and 25mm eyepiece, “on the fly” during my evening break at work, 8:02 PM CDT 3-23-12 (1:02 UT 3-24-12).

Below 8:05 PM CDT 3-24-12 (1:05 UT 3-25-12), 8″ reflector and 25mm eyepiece.

Below: Eight minutes later at 8:13 PM, it is easier to see the faint “earthshine,” or as people of old called it, “the old Moon in the new Moon’s arms.”


Above: Jupiter and the Galilean Moons at 8:08 PM CDT 3-24-12 (1:08 UT 3-25-12), 8″ reflector and 25mm eyepiece. UPDATE: I forgot to mention that from upper left to lower right it’s Europa, Jupiter, Io, Ganymede, and Callisto.

Here’s an update on the progress of Venus. As of March 24, 2012, the upcoming Venus Transit of June 5/6, 2012 is T-Minus 72 days away, and counting:

6:28 PM CDT March 24, 2012 (23:28 UT)
Angular diameter 22.95 arc seconds
52.4% illumination
Distance from Earth 67,571,683 miles (108,746,083 km)

4:10 PM CST February 12, 2012 (22:10 UT)
Angular diameter 16.24 arc seconds
70.2% illumination
Distance from Earth 95,450,953 miles (153,613,419 km)
18mm eyepiece

1:48 PM CST February 8, 2012 (19:48 UT)
Angular diameter 15.82 arc seconds
71.7% illumination
Distance from Earth 98,020,580 miles (157,748,833 km)
18mm eyepiece

2:37 PM CST January 5, 2012 (20:37 UT)
Angular diameter 13.19 arc seconds
81.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 117,572,894 miles (189,215,232 km)
2:21 PM CST November 29, 2011 (20:21 UT)
Angular diameter 11.46 arc seconds
89.5% illumination
Distance from Earth 135,265,885 miles (217,689,541 km)
4:18 PM CST November 20, 2011 (22:18 UT)
Angular diameter 11.13 arc seconds
91.2% illumination
Distance from Earth 139,346,992 miles (227,254,246 km)
12:03 PM CST January 5, 2011 (18:03 UTC)
Angular diameter 25.58 arc seconds
48.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 60,611,164 miles (97,544,214 km)
10:02 AM CST November 27, 2010 (16:02 UTC)
Angular diameter 44.72 arc seconds
20.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 34,669,885 miles (55,795,771 km)
12:40 PM CDT (17:40 UTC), November 5, 2010
Angular diameter 59.94 arc seconds
2.4% illumination
Distance from Earth 25,866,740 miles (41,628,483 km)

Unless otherwise noted, 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Below, along with the wondrous conjunction of Jupiter and Venus this month, here is a conjunction of another sort between 16.6-year-old Pluto and “Callie,” the neighbor calico cat who used to sneak into our garage last fall when she was a half-grown kitten:

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