Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Planetary Pairing on Friday

If you are a morning person, you're in luck. The planets Jupiter and Venus are putting on a great show in the pre-dawn sky.

Back two weeks ago, when I took Sandra to the airport for the early morning American Eagle flight to San Juan, Venus was well up in the eastern sky and Jupiter was shining a little above the horizon. Venus has been dropping towards the horizon rather quickly and now the two planets are close together.

They will be at their closest on Friday morning. This week, I've seen them as early as 5:45 am and as "late" as 6:15. I suspect that they would still be visible at 6:30, so you don't have to get up super early to spot them.

On Sunday morning, Venus will be a little below Jupiter and the waning crescent Moon will join them to make a nice little triangle in the sky. I'm hoping for clear skies this weekend so I can enjoy the free show.

Speaking of clear skies, it was exceptionally clear last night and Pierre and I got in some great binocular observing from about 9 pm to 11 pm. We went to a little parking area just north of 1000 steps to get away from the lights of Hato and Sabadeco and were treated to views of a myriad of jewel like stars set in an inky black sky. We had a couple star atlases with us to guide the way, and star clusters and galaxies would just pop into view in the big binos. The Milky Way passed directly overhead and was very clear to the naked eye.


Anonymous said...

I was hoping to see this, but alas, I woke up to rain this a.m. I do hope to see it sometime this weekend even though the closest meeting is past.

Brad said...

I looked outside at about 5:40am and again at 6:40 am and found the sky clouded over. grrrr...
I was out socializing with the dogs at about 7am, just after the sun was coming up, and spotted the planets in the super clear deep blue sky. I ran back in, grabbed my camera, re-spotted the planets, but couldn't see anything in the camera viewfinder. I took a picture anyway, but the odds are almost overwhelming that I wasn't aimed correctly, give the limited field of view of the 400mm lens. I'll check it out later.
By 7:20 or so, the sky had turned to a lighter "sky blue" color and I couldn't see the planets.
Since I didn't see it like I wanted to today, my next goal is to see the close grouping of Venus, Jupiter, and the moon on Sunday am.