Venus and Jupiter | Tuesday Is Show Time

I hope you have been blessed with some clear sky conditions enough to see Venus and Jupiter in the west soon after sunset. During the recent two weeks, the pair have drawn closer together. Tuesday evening June 30, they will be 1/3˚ apart, closer than the width of a full moon. They will put on an beautiful show for us.

More details about this planetary encounter in earlier posts here and here. I wish you clear skies.

My actual view June 16, 2015. Venus is the brighter one.



My actual view June 23, 2015. Same zoom as before.



Simulated view for June 30, 2015.


Venus and Jupiter | June Sky Show

Two of my favorite objects are planets Venus and Jupiter. They are very bright and offer beautiful displays throughout the year. Usually, they are not in the same part of the sky at the same time. During June this year, they are both in the evening sky and will put on a wonderful display. It culminates on June 30 with them less than a moon-width apart, only 1/3˚. I urge you to make a point of going out each clear evening at sunset to watch as their performance takes place night-to-night.

The site Science@NASA released this 3 minute video which shows the highlights expected during the remaining weeks of June.


As a follow-up, I used my planetarium program and screen recording software to step through the dates June 18 – July 4. The view is toward the western sky soon after sunset. I chose 10 pm, but earlier will also work well. Watch at the bottom of the screen as the mouse pointer moves the date one day at a time. Stop the video anytime, or replay, to take in the changing views. Note the thin new moon on the 18, 19, and 20th. On the 30th, the view is enlarged to show the closeness of Venus and Jupiter. You will be able to cover them both with a fingertip on an outstretched arm. Enjoy the show.


Try your hand at photographing this grouping and pairing with some interesting and creative scenes near the horizon. Mount your camera on a tripod or set it on a solid surface. Use the self-timer to avoid movement. Zoom in to frame your scene. Try various exposure settings. Be creative.

Rainbow After Dinner

We drove west all day from central Oklahoma on highway 412 through the entire length of the panhandle. We stopped just inside of New Mexico at Clayton to stay the night. Dinner at the Eklund Hotel was fun and very tasty. We noticed some rain out the windows. Upon getting into the car to return to our motel, we saw this piece of rainbow arcing into the sky.


Venus-Moon Occultation

Before sunrise Feb. 26, 2014, the Moon and Venus presented a beautiful conjunction witnessed by many people. I set up my camera and tripod in the living room and posted this blog entry with four photographs.

Earlier that morning on the other side of the Earth, people were treated to a rare sight. The Moon passed in front of Venus and occulted the planet. The sight was featured in today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. The two people got this daytime view minutes before the Moon passed in front of Venus. Beautiful, isn’t it? More below the image.

The Moon moves from west to east across the field of stars due to its orbit around the Earth. It moves east to west across our sky due to the rotation of the Earth. Each day, the Moon appears a little more to the east than the day before.

I opened my desktop planetarium software and set my viewing location to south of India in the Indian Ocean, just north of the equator. I set the time to 8:15 am local time. I located, locked on, and zoomed into Venus. There was the Moon very near to the right, or west of Venus. It is very bright because of the daylight. I clicked to animate the scene. The Moon moved to the east and occulted Venus like this. I wish that had happened here. Some day it will. I will be watching.

Venus-Moon Conjunction | Poll

A few minutes after 6 am on February 26, 2014, the Moon and Venus were paired in conjunction through the mantle window. It was -5˚F outside, too cold to go out for a photograph. The window framing seemed to add some interest to the scene. What do you think? There is a poll below if you would rather not say in words.


ISO: 400 | Exposure: 1/2 sec | Aperture: 4.0 | Focal Length: 31.3mm


ISO: 400 | Exposure: 1/10 sec | Aperture: 4.0 | Focal Length: 31.3mm


ISO: 400 | Exposure: 1/10 sec | Aperture: 4.0 | Focal Length: 31.3mm


ISO: 200 | Exposure: 1/4 sec | Aperture: 2.8 | Focal Length: 31.3mm