Monday, December 1, 2008

Venus, Jupiter and Moon Conjunction

Click on the pictures to see a larger version

My wife, Gloria, and I decided to see if we could find a nice foreground object to photograph the conjunction of the Moon with Venus and Jupiter today, so we loaded my camera and tripod and headed down the road. The clouds were playing peak-a-boo with them as we drove. Gloria spotted an old, run down barn and luckily the gate to the property was open. Dodging the cow pies and muddy spots I set up on the other side of the barn while Gloria waited by the car. I was glad she did, because the owner of the property drove up and while she talked to him I took a bunch of images, then it quickly clouded up. Gloria said she told the owner what we were doing and he told her only to make sure to close the gate so the cows wouldn't escape. It sure is nice to have great neighbors. When we got home, the clouds parted once again, so I took more images with my 300mm lens.

Notice the two stars on each side of Jupiter, at the upper right. These are really moons of Jupiter: Ganymede is on the left side and Callisto is on the right. Two more moons are closer to Jupiter, but only one is slightly visible as a pimple on the left side. This moon is Europa. The other moon, Io, is too close to Jupiter for it to be visible.

The dark side of the Moon is really not dark. The light that we see coming from there is really coming from the Earth, so we call it earthshine. Sunlight reflects off the Earth to the Moon, then reflects back to our eyes.

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