Circle December 1- nice sky show – picture opportunity

Hey folks – well folks living in mid-northern latitudes roughly near mine (41.5 N) – circle Monday, December 1 on your calendar, then at 5 pm (or about half an hour after sunset) go out and take a look at the sky to the southwest. You should ses something like this.

Moon, Venus and Jupiter as depicted by Starry Nights software.

Moon, Venus and Jupiter as depicted by Starry Nights software.

You should see a beautiful crescent moon (-10.6), bunched together in a neat little triangle with brilliant Venus (-4.1)and still bright Jupiter (-2). (Of course the moon will look bigger than shown here – the size of the dots for the planets are large to represent their brightness, but they will look like very bright stars.) Should make an easy shot for your digital camera as well – give it a try. The key to such shots is to frame the sky with some nice trees, buildings, or whatever. Take a look at what Hank Walter did here, for example.

hw_venus_j2

But even if you don’t take a picture, having two bright planets join the 3-day-old moon is just fun to see – and pretty. To understand how the planets end up aligned this way, take a look at this earlier post. The moon gets added to the mix because right ont his night it’s lined up between us and the Sun and quite close to the Sun. I checked this in Starry Nights software – the objects are all less than 3 degrees from one another which means you should be able to cover them with your fist held at arms length. (They’ll be roughly two fists above the horizon at 5 pm so you need a clean southwestern horizon.)

If the weather is scrummy (that’s a scientific term) then try Sunday night or Tuesday night – the moon will be much lower Sunday night, and significantly higher Tuesday night – but still fit in the picture.

If anyone gets a picture I’d love to see it and would be happy to post it here.

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