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Archive for the ‘Venus photos’ Category

Venus and Jupiter are the two brightest planets, and these days Jupiter is appearing as a brilliant “morning star” in the east before dawn, whereas Venus is appearing as a bright “evening star” in the west after sunset.

Below: Jupiter and dimmer Mars close together in the predawn sky.0729030523jupitermars7x35
Mars is left center, brighter Jupiter is upper right. 5:23 AM CDT July 29, 2013, 7×35 binoculars.

Beautiful skies like this one keep me getting up before dawn:
0729030551

Below are photos of Mars (currently quite far away), Jupiter, and Venus shown at the same magnification:

0729030534mars25mm Mars at 5:34 AM CDT July 29, 2013 (10:34 UT)
Angular diameter 3.89 arc seconds
97.9% illumination
Distance from Earth 223,525,179 miles (359,728,906 km)
0729030527cjupiter25mm2xb Jupiter and Galilean Moons at 5:27 AM CDT July 29, 2013 (10:27 UT)
Left to right: Jupiter, Europa, Callisto, Io, Ganymede
Jupiter’s angular diameter 32.82 arc seconds
99.8% illumination
Distance from Earth 557,683,749 miles (897,504,995 km)

The following photos are all of Venus. Venus passed around the far side of the Sun (superior conjunction) on March 28, and is now gradually approaching the Earth once again:

0728031915cvenus25mm2xb 7:15 PM CDT July 28, 2013 (00:15 UT July 29, 2013)
Angular diameter 12.37 arc seconds
83.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 125,386,985 miles (201,790,791 km)
12:05 PM CST, November 19, 2012 (18:05 UT)
Angular diameter 12.25 arc seconds
85.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 126,593,857 miles (203,733,064 km)
1:12 PM CDT, October 12, 2012 (18:12 UT)
Angular diameter 14.69 arc seconds
74.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 105,565,517 miles (169,891,262 km)
2:00 PM CDT, September 21, 2012 (19:00 UT)
Angular diameter 16.83 arc seconds
67.3% illumination
Distance from Earth 92,101,088 miles (148,222,333 km)
8:26 AM CDT, September 10, 2012 (13:26 UT)
Angular diameter 18.36 arc seconds
62.7% illumination
Distance from Earth 84,452,528 miles (135,913,169 km)
10:17 AM CDT, September 4, 2012 (15:17 UT)
Angular diameter 19.31 arc seconds
60.1% illumination
Distance from Earth 80,311,754 miles (129,249,240 km)
1:15 PM CDT, August 21, 2012 (18:15 UT)
Angular diameter 22.02 arc seconds
53.5% illumination
Distance from Earth 70,401,199 miles (113,299,747 km)
7:36 AM CDT, August 13 2012 (12:36 UT)
Angular diameter 24.07 arc seconds
49.1% illumination
Distance from Earth 64,429,600 miles (103,689,390 km)
1:39 PM CDT, August 6, 2012 (18:39 UT)
Angular diameter 26.05 arc seconds
45.2% illumination
Distance from Earth 59,516,628 miles (95,782,727 km)
8:52 AM CDT July 30, 2012 (13:52 UT)
Angular diameter 28.56 arc seconds
40.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 54,298,771 miles (87,385,401 km)
5:49 AM CDT July 22, 2012 (10:49 UT)
Angular diameter 31.96 arc seconds
34.9% illumination
Distance from Earth 48,512,519 miles (78,073,332 km)
9:18 AM CDT July 13, 2012 (14:18 UT)
Angular diameter 36.52 arc seconds
27.9% illumination
Distance from Earth 42,450,876 miles (68,318,063 km)
11:56 AM CDT July 3, 2012 (16:56 UT)
Angular diameter 42.79 arc seconds
19.0% illumination
Distance from Earth 36,238,688 miles (58,320,514 km)
11:21 AM CDT June 27, 2012 (16:21 UT)
Angular diameter 47.07 arc seconds
13.4% illumination
Distance from Earth 32,940,927 miles (53,013,283 km)
8:38 AM CDT June 21, 2012 (13:38 UT)
Angular diameter 51.42 arc seconds
7.8% illumination
Distance from Earth 30,154,150 miles (48,528,401 km)
8:57 AM CDT June 12, 2012 (13:57 UT)
Angular diameter 56.46 arc seconds
1.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 27,463,558 miles (44,198,313 km)
7:33 PM CDT June 5, 2012 (00:33 UT June 6, 2012)
Angular diameter 57.78 arc seconds
0.0% illumination, transiting the Sun
Distance from Earth 26,836,379 miles (43,188,966 km)
Projection method with 60mm refractor telescope and 17mm eyepiece

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Following up on yesterday’s post, here are Saturn and Venus as they appeared this morning at 6:55 AM CST (12:55 UT 11-27-12):

60mm refractor telescope, 25mm eyepiece, LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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Above: Saturn (left) and Venus (right, brighter), in conjunction at 6:54 AM CST November 26, 2012 (12:54 UT). 7×35 binoculars.

The clouds finally cleared up just in time to view this much-anticipated conjunction, and not a moment too soon! But it was co-old! It’ll actually warm up a bit the rest of this week, if the prediction holds. Tomorrow morning the two planets will still be in conjunction, but with Saturn appearing above Venus instead of to the left. It looks to me like viewers in places like Asia, Europe, and Africa will actually see a closer stage of the conjunction than we will here in the Americas, so if that’s your locale, then be sure to get up and see the conjunction (of course it’s great here in the Americas as well)! I also glimpsed Mercury very briefly, quite close to the horizon while it was still pretty dark. I have high hopes of observing it during this apparition and even documenting its phases.

Below: 6:59 AM CDT (12:59 UT), with 60mm refractor telescope and 25mm eyepiece:

Here’s Saturn magnified 130x with the 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece and 2x Barlow, at 7:01 AM CDT (13:01 UT):

It’s a week of celestial events, as Wednesday will bring us a penumbral lunar eclipse, that is, a lunar eclipse in which the Moon only passes through the outer, lighter part of the Earth’s shadow and not the central, darker part. In my experience penumbral eclipses don’t show much visible difference, but I’ll be taking a look just the same, if the weather allows. Just as was the case with the lunar eclipses I observed on December 10, 2011 and June 4, 2012, this one will be still in progress when the Moon sets here in central North America. Watch this site for further developments …

Photos with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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I haven’t posted much for a few days, so here’s a big “catch-up:”

Above: Venus shines in the predawn sky at 6:46 AM, November 18, 2012. Though you can’t see it in this photo, Saturn, the ringed jewel of the skies, has reappeared from the far side of the Sun and is a bit to the lower left of Venus. Keep watch these next few mornings, as fainter Saturn and brighter Venus will be closer each morning, and on the mornings of November 26 and 27, 2012, the two planets will be in a spectacularly close conjunction. Don’t miss it!

Here’s a Saturn series, similar in format to my Venus phase updates, beginning with this morning and working back through a few of my best Saturn photos. Note how over time Saturn’s rings are “opening up” as viewed from Earth. Unless otherwise noted, these photos are with the 8″ reflector telescope, 17mm eyepiece, and 2x Barlow:

7:01 AM CST November 20, 2012 (13:01 UT)
Angular diameter 15.49 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 992,918,000 miles (1,598,000,000 km)
11:42 PM CDT June 7, 2012 (04:42 UT June 8, 2012)
Angular diameter 18.15 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 847,415,000 miles (1,363,782,000 km)
4:38 AM CDT April 12, 2012 (09:38 UT)
Angular diameter 18.97 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 810,707,000 miles (1,304,706,000 km)
6:13 AM CST January 8, 2012 (12:13 UT)
Angular diameter 16.82 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 913,348,000 miles (1,471,501,000 km)
25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow, scaled to match the others
3:23 AM CDT April 14, 2011 (08:23 UT)
Angular diameter 18.97 arc seconds
Distance from Earth 810,570,000 miles (1,304,487,000 km)

One treat of our current predawn sky this November is the Venus-Saturn show in the Southeast counterbalanced with bright Jupiter in the Northeast. Here’s Jupiter, gleaming far beyond the wires in my backyard, at 6:50 AM, November 18, 2012:

And here are the giant planet and the four Galilean moons. From upper left to lower right: Europa, Io, Ganymede, Jupiter, Callisto:

6:57 AM CST November 18, 2012 (12:57 UT). 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, 2x Barlow.

Speaking of Venus, it’s now heading towards the far side of the Sun from us, though it still is a bright, resplendent sight before dawn:

12:05 PM CST, November 19, 2012 (18:05 UT)
Angular diameter 12.25 arc seconds
85.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 126,593,857 miles (203,733,064 km)
1:12 PM CDT, October 12, 2012 (18:12 UT)
Angular diameter 14.69 arc seconds
74.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 105,565,517 miles (169,891,262 km)
2:00 PM CDT, September 21, 2012 (19:00 UT)
Angular diameter 16.83 arc seconds
67.3% illumination
Distance from Earth 92,101,088 miles (148,222,333 km)
8:26 AM CDT, September 10, 2012 (13:26 UT)
Angular diameter 18.36 arc seconds
62.7% illumination
Distance from Earth 84,452,528 miles (135,913,169 km)
10:17 AM CDT, September 4, 2012 (15:17 UT)
Angular diameter 19.31 arc seconds
60.1% illumination
Distance from Earth 80,311,754 miles (129,249,240 km)
1:15 PM CDT, August 21, 2012 (18:15 UT)
Angular diameter 22.02 arc seconds
53.5% illumination
Distance from Earth 70,401,199 miles (113,299,747 km)
7:36 AM CDT, August 13 2012 (12:36 UT)
Angular diameter 24.07 arc seconds
49.1% illumination
Distance from Earth 64,429,600 miles (103,689,390 km)
1:39 PM CDT, August 6, 2012 (18:39 UT)
Angular diameter 26.05 arc seconds
45.2% illumination
Distance from Earth 59,516,628 miles (95,782,727 km)
8:52 AM CDT July 30, 2012 (13:52 UT)
Angular diameter 28.56 arc seconds
40.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 54,298,771 miles (87,385,401 km)
5:49 AM CDT July 22, 2012 (10:49 UT)
Angular diameter 31.96 arc seconds
34.9% illumination
Distance from Earth 48,512,519 miles (78,073,332 km)
9:18 AM CDT July 13, 2012 (14:18 UT)
Angular diameter 36.52 arc seconds
27.9% illumination
Distance from Earth 42,450,876 miles (68,318,063 km)
11:56 AM CDT July 3, 2012 (16:56 UT)
Angular diameter 42.79 arc seconds
19.0% illumination
Distance from Earth 36,238,688 miles (58,320,514 km)
11:21 AM CDT June 27, 2012 (16:21 UT)
Angular diameter 47.07 arc seconds
13.4% illumination
Distance from Earth 32,940,927 miles (53,013,283 km)
8:38 AM CDT June 21, 2012 (13:38 UT)
Angular diameter 51.42 arc seconds
7.8% illumination
Distance from Earth 30,154,150 miles (48,528,401 km)
8:57 AM CDT June 12, 2012 (13:57 UT)
Angular diameter 56.46 arc seconds
1.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 27,463,558 miles (44,198,313 km)
7:33 PM CDT June 5, 2012 (00:33 UT June 6, 2012)
Angular diameter 57.78 arc seconds
0.0% illumination, transiting the Sun
Distance from Earth 26,836,379 miles (43,188,966 km)
Projection method with 60mm refractor telescope and 17mm eyepiece

Not to be outdone, here’s the waxing crescent Moon at 6:38 PM CST November 18, 2012 (00:38 UT November 19, 2012), 8″ reflector telescope with 25mm eyepiece. Note that once again the Sun has risen on Mickey Mouse:

All with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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This daisy bloom was a pleasant surprise on our deck a week ago on October 22. Not many flowers bloom in Minnesota in October! More blooms have appeared since then, but this was the biggest and prettiest.


Last Thursday morning the 25th was very blustery, though nothing like what people out east are currently experiencing with Hurricane Sandy (if you’re affected, you’re in my prayers). These seagulls were flying into a strong headwind which made them practically stationary above the ground.

Meanwhile, Venus continues to recede from Earth as it races ahead in its faster orbit closer to the Sun. As of October 30, 2012, it is about 116 million miles from Earth (187 million km), and about 80% of the side facing Earth is illuminated, not conspicuously different from the top photo below, taken on October 12. It continues to beam in the eastern sky before dawn, balanced by bright Jupiter, which currently is in the western sky before sunrise. The next notable sight involving Venus will be a very close conjunction with Saturn, visible before dawn in the southeast on November 26 and 27, 2012.

1:12 PM CDT, October 12, 2012 (18:12 UT)
Angular diameter 14.69 arc seconds
74.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 105,565,517 miles (169,891,262 km)
2:00 PM CDT, September 21, 2012 (19:00 UT)
Angular diameter 16.83 arc seconds
67.3% illumination
Distance from Earth 92,101,088 miles (148,222,333 km)
8:26 AM CDT, September 10, 2012 (13:26 UT)
Angular diameter 18.36 arc seconds
62.7% illumination
Distance from Earth 84,452,528 miles (135,913,169 km)
10:17 AM CDT, September 4, 2012 (15:17 UT)
Angular diameter 19.31 arc seconds
60.1% illumination
Distance from Earth 80,311,754 miles (129,249,240 km)
1:15 PM CDT, August 21, 2012 (18:15 UT)
Angular diameter 22.02 arc seconds
53.5% illumination
Distance from Earth 70,401,199 miles (113,299,747 km)
7:36 AM CDT, August 13 2012 (12:36 UT)
Angular diameter 24.07 arc seconds
49.1% illumination
Distance from Earth 64,429,600 miles (103,689,390 km)
1:39 PM CDT, August 6, 2012 (18:39 UT)
Angular diameter 26.05 arc seconds
45.2% illumination
Distance from Earth 59,516,628 miles (95,782,727 km)
8:52 AM CDT July 30, 2012 (13:52 UT)
Angular diameter 28.56 arc seconds
40.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 54,298,771 miles (87,385,401 km)
5:49 AM CDT July 22, 2012 (10:49 UT)
Angular diameter 31.96 arc seconds
34.9% illumination
Distance from Earth 48,512,519 miles (78,073,332 km)
9:18 AM CDT July 13, 2012 (14:18 UT)
Angular diameter 36.52 arc seconds
27.9% illumination
Distance from Earth 42,450,876 miles (68,318,063 km)
11:56 AM CDT July 3, 2012 (16:56 UT)
Angular diameter 42.79 arc seconds
19.0% illumination
Distance from Earth 36,238,688 miles (58,320,514 km)
11:21 AM CDT June 27, 2012 (16:21 UT)
Angular diameter 47.07 arc seconds
13.4% illumination
Distance from Earth 32,940,927 miles (53,013,283 km)
8:38 AM CDT June 21, 2012 (13:38 UT)
Angular diameter 51.42 arc seconds
7.8% illumination
Distance from Earth 30,154,150 miles (48,528,401 km)
8:57 AM CDT June 12, 2012 (13:57 UT)
Angular diameter 56.46 arc seconds
1.6% illumination
Distance from Earth 27,463,558 miles (44,198,313 km)
7:33 PM CDT June 5, 2012 (00:33 UT June 6, 2012)
Angular diameter 57.78 arc seconds
0.0% illumination, transiting the Sun
Distance from Earth 26,836,379 miles (43,188,966 km)
Projection method with 60mm refractor telescope and 17mm eyepiece

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6:45 AM, looking east-southeastward toward Venus.

There was a special treat in the predawn sky this morning, as Venus came only two-tenths of a degree (by line of sight) from the star Regulus, forming a striking sight to the naked eye. Furthermore, these three photos were taken at the same magnification that I usually use for photos of the whole Moon:

6:37 AM CDT October 3, 2012 (11:37 UT).


6:55 AM (11:55 UT).


7:04 AM.
To us Venus seems much brighter, but that’s just because it’s so close, as of today a mere 100 million miles. Regulus is 77.5 light-years away and about 3.5 times the Sun’s mass.

Below: Not to be outdone, Jupiter and the Galilean Moons were lined up in a nice “family portrait” fashion. From left to right: Callisto, Europa, Io, Jupiter, Ganymede. 7:01 AM CDT 10-3-12 (12:01 UT), 25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow.


The waning gibbous Moon at 7:17 AM CDT 10-3-12 (12:17 UT).
Below: 7:18 AM, the Moon shines through pinkish clouds five minutes before sunrise.

All with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Telescopic photos with 8″ homebuilt reflector telescope. Click to enlarge.

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Watch for a dazzling planet-star conjunction tomorrow morning, as Venus and the star Regulus will appear only 0.2 degrees from each other on the early morning of October 3, as viewed from North America. Already this morning they were close enough together to appear within one view at 28x magnification. Here they are at 7:13 this morning (12:13 UT), with 60mm refractor telescope and 25mm eyepiece, brilliant, gibbous Venus at the upper left:


To give you an idea how close this is, here’s the Moon at the same magnification at 7:27 AM, using the same equipment:

Once again the Moon is waning, my favorite time of the lunation, as I do most of my astronomy before dawn. The splendor of the starry and “planety” night giving way to the bright dawn is something I never grow tired of, and the cheerfully chirping birds agree. It’s like being in on a secret.


Above: The still-fullish gibbous Moon beginning to wane at 6:32 AM CDT 9-30-12 (11:32 UT).
Below: 7:24 AM CDT 10-2-12 (12:24 UT). Both with 8″ reflector telescope and 25mm eyepiece.

Before dawn on Sunday, Europa and Callisto appeared to be hugging close to Jupiter:


6:52 AM 9-30-12 (11:52 UT). Left to Right: Ganymede, Europa, Jupiter, Callisto, Io.
8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, 2x Barlow.
All with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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