Venus and Jupiter | Photo Project

During June 16-30, people around the world watched the planets Venus and Jupiter near each other in the evening sky. Their performance culminated on the 30th when they were a mere 1/3˚ apart. Details here.

Multiple day events like this are challenging to watch. Weather in some parts of the world is unreliable. Here in the middle of the U.S. we have a wide variety of sky viewing conditions. Even so, I attempted to document this two week event with a picture each evening at about 9:30 pm. I put the images in sequence to show the movements of each planet.

I found a good location half a block down the street from our house. The camera was on a tripod and set to manual. It has a 6x optical zoom. Each photo was at a 3x zoom setting. ISO was 200. Aperture was f/5.6. Focus distance was infinity. Shutter speed was between 0.5 and 2 sec depending on brightness of the sky. Self-timer was always used to avoid shaking the camera.

The first four evenings were either clear to partly cloudy. The four images are grouped here. Software adjustments were made in each one for the different sky conditions in order to make the planets easily visible. Venus is the brighter of the two at lower right. Click image for a slightly larger version.



June 20th and 22nd proved overcast. Two out of four days were ok viewing.



2015_0629YellowMoonSky conditions deteriorated the last week. The gods conspired to make this project even more challenging. Clouds were not the only problem. Forest fires in northwest Canada added smoke to the atmosphere. Jet stream winds carried them across southern Canada into the midwest and across Iowa. Our skies were hazy and the air smelled of smoke. The waxing moon approached full and cast a yellow-orange light on us below. Often yellowing is visible when the moon is low to the horizon. My image is of the moon very high in the sky almost overhead. It would normally be a bright white at that altitude.

The image below is from June 29th. The light grey smoke persisted for several days in that river of air. Visit the Earth Observatory site for their full story.

NASA | Earth Observatory

NASA | Earth Observatory | Jeff Schmaltz


I was able to capture images on June 26, 27, and barely on the 29th due to the clouds and haze. The day of closest approach on the 30th was completely overcast and impossible. I had to get help from friends Walter and Gary from my high school days. They both had better viewing conditions, good camera equipment, and photography experience. Walter lives in the high desert of southwest California. He obtained the image for the June 30th in this following sequence. Good job, Walter, and thank you for the help.



Gary, also in the desert of southern California, captured this beautiful image for the 30th. Thank you, Gary. I really like the dance of the clouds nearby. Click for a much larger version. I love how the four Galilean Moons are visible near Jupiter in the enlarged version. One is to the upper left. The other three are close together to the lower right.



8 thoughts on “Venus and Jupiter | Photo Project

  1. We had lots of clear sky opportunities where we could watch Venus and Jupiter. I loved the addition of an orange/yellow moon. I don’t have photos to show it, but will try to store it in my memory 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This really has been fun. I left you a link to one of the photos I took on my blog. I haven’t had time to sort through all the photos yet, but we had great viewing conditions on Saturday night. There were a few people who couldn’t figure out why I was taking photos in the direction opposite where the fireworks were starting to go off, but I just let them think what they wished!

    Liked by 1 person

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