A Darker View

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Conjunctions and Occulations

I missed the closest approach of Venus and Jupiter. Not for lack of trying. I had set up the telescope and camera in the driveway. A clear afternoon clouded over at sunset, leaving me only glimpses of the planets through a fleeting gap in the clouds. I had time to focus enough to see the crescent of Venus, which promptly faded from sight.

The next evening I am on the summit. No small telescope available, but I did have the camera to record a stunningly beautiful evening atop the mountain.

Conjunction

Venus and Jupiter over the Keck 1 dome

A reminder that this evening will see the close approach of Venus and Jupiter. Watching over the last week we have seen these two bright planets growing ever closer in the evening sky.

The closest approach will be about 0.3° tonight, June 30th at 16:14HST. They will be slightly further apart several hours later at sunset.

This is the best opportunity to see the pair at their closest for observer in Hawaiʻi. If you want to see the closest approach you can also try to observe the conjunction in the late afternoon sky. Both planets are bright enough to see in the daytime.

After this the pair will separate slowly and disappear into the sunset glow together.

At their closest the two will be easily close enough to bee seen together in the low power view of amateur telescopes. It makes a fascinating sight to see the two planets together in the eyepiece.

The dance of Jupiter and Venus continues in the evening sky. Over the next few days we will see the pair drawing closer. Currently an obvious pairing in the sky after sunset, the two are just 4.5° apart today. With Venus shining at -4.4 and Jupiter somewhat dimmer at magnitude -1.8 it is hard to miss the pair.

The closest approach will be about 0.3° on June 30th at 16:14HST. Thus the evening of June 30th will see the pair at their closest for observer in Hawaiʻi. If you want to see the closest approach you can also try to observe the conjunction in the late afternoon sky. Both planets are bright enough to see in the daytime.

After this the pair will separate slowly and disappear into the sunset glow together.

At their closest the two will be easily close enough to bee seen together in the low power view of amateur telescopes. It makes a fascinating sight to see the two planets together in the eyepiece.

Over the next two months the two brightest visual planets will dance in the sunset. Jupiter and Venus make for a brilliant pairing. With Venus shining at -4.3 and Jupiter somewhat dimmer at magnitude -1.9, the two are already quite obvious in the evening sky. Jupiter will swing just north of Venus approaching to within 0.3&deg on June 30th. The pair will separate slowly after that and disappear into the sunset glow together.

Around June 30th the two will be easily close enough to bee seen together in the low power view of amateur telescopes. It makes a fascinating sight to see the two planets together in the eyepiece.

As an added bonus the planet Mercury will join the pair around August 3rd, the trio forming a nice triangle of bright planets low in the sunset.

Mercury, Venus and Jupiter

An evening conjunction of Mercury, Venus and Jupiter on 30 May, 2013

A very nice evening conjunction between a crescent Moon and Venus will occur this evening, March 22. The pair will be just under 5° apart and will grace the sunset until well after dark, setting after 9pm. Venus is currently shining brightly at -4.0 magnitude, a nice match for a 10% illuminated waxing Moon.

Mercury and Venus will be in a close conjunction this evening. While the pair has been drawing closer for the last week, tonight will see them at their closest, about 38′ separation.

Look for the bright planet Venus low in the sunset. Mercury will slightly down and to the north of Venus. A separation of 38′ is just a bit more that the width of the full Moon. Both objects are fairly bright, with Venus shining at -3.9 magnitude and Mercury at -0.7. Bright enough to be quite obvious, the pair will be 17° above the horizon at sunset.

Over the coming week the pair will slightly separate. Mercury will be at maximum elongation on January 14th, after which it will begin its slide back into the sunset.

Over the next week Mercury and Venus will rendezvous in the sunset. This evening will see the two separated by 48′, well under one degree. This will close to about 38′ on the evening of January 10th, just a little over the width of a full Moon apart. Both objects are fairly bright, with Venus shining at -3.9 magnitude and Mercury at -0.7. Bright enough to be quite obvious, the pair will be 17° above the horizon at sunset.

This evening, Dec 22nd, will see a brilliant Venus paired with a very thin crescent Moon. Look for the pair to appear just 12° above the setting Sun. Venus will set at 18:50HST, about one hour after sunset. A 1.8% illuminated Moon will be a nice match for Venus shining brilliantly at -3.9 magnitude. Separation will be just under 6°.

Tonight the Moon and Jupiter will be close. The Moon will rise first, followed by Jupiter rising about 22:19HST. The Moon will be about 78% illuminated and about 9° from the bright planet. Tomorrow night the Moon will have moved to the other side of Jupiter and be a bit closer, about 7° separation.

Tonight the Moon and Jupiter will be close. The Moon will rise first, followed by Jupiter a few minutes after midnight. The Moon will be about 59% illuminated and about 12° from the bright planet. Tomorrow night the Moon will have moved to the other side of Jupiter and be much closer, about 5° separation.