Morning Planets at a Safe Distance

Jupiter took the lead guiding this trio across the morning sky. It is upper right at 6 am with Saturn and Mars close behind. Saturn is on top.

Three of the four Galilean Moons of Jupiter were visible at full zoom. A brisk breeze added a little camera shake. From left to right are Ganymede, Europa, and Io. Callisto was almost emerging on the upper right limb of Jupiter.

Saturn appeared as a tiny oval above Mars. It has been several days since we had a clear morning. It was a good start to the day.

ISS Passes Arcturus & Jupiter

After admiring Jupiter, Saturn, Albireo, and Mizar-Alcor, I packed up the Celestron 8 and waited a few minutes. Right on time, the ISS rose from the horizon in the northwest passing just over the thin crescent new moon. The iPad was on the roof of the car with the NightCap app running and pointed high in the southwest. A passenger plane flew west with blinking lights. Then came ISS going right-to-left just below Arcturus. It brightened as it passed over Jupiter before dimming abruptly before reaching Saturn. A lot of ground is covered traveling 5 miles per second.

Saturn Moon Jupiter | 5 Nights

It is rare to have five consecutive nights of clear skies for star gazing. And, even more rare when those nights coincide with a special event I hope to photograph. The gods must have looked favorably on me. It started on 11 July 2019 with this view to the south-southeast at 9:44pm CDT. Far lower left was Saturn emerging from behind the bushes. Jupiter was proud above the trees. The overexposed Moon hovered at the right. I photographed this scene at 9:44pm over the course of the next four nights. The Moon tracked down to the left. Click for a better view.

ISO 800, Exposure 1 sec | Click to embiggen.

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Moon Visits the Planets

The sky has been graced by four planets in recent weeks shortly after sunset. Farthest west has been Venus. Next toward the east has been Jupiter, then fainter Saturn, and brilliant Mars in the southeast. This view from Starry Nite desktop software shows their arrangement in mid-August soon after sunset.

Click embiggen

The Moon was a new thin crescent on 11 Sep soon after sunset here photographed by Heiko Ulbricht in Germany.

Heiko Ulbricht | September 11, 2018 | @ Mt. Lerchenberg, Saxony, Germany

Each successive night after 11 Sep, the Moon appeared farther east in the evening sky as it orbited Earth. Our weather forecast predicted a series of clear days which gave me hope of capturing an image of the Moon near each of the four planets during the coming week.

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