Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Night Sky II

I learned from a friend that Jupiter is at its closest approach to earth this year at this time, so when I heard the Great Horned Owls calling by the light of the full moon I just had to go out to see (and hear) the show. Two owls (or more) were calling to each other and high clouds slightly obscured the view. Only the moon and Jupiter could be seen. First I looked through my telescope, but when I saw Jupiter I just felt compelled to try to take a photo to better tell my tale. First, though, here's the moon as seen with my new camera.

To my delight and amazement, the four largest moons of Jupiter were all to be seen. One was on the left side, very close to the planet. To the right, another hovered about four Jovian diameters away ... and right against the right side of Jupiter the two remaining moons sparkled. One nearly touched the edge, and I'm sure if I look again soon it will have either passed in front of, or behind, the planet. Even with the faint haze, the two further moons show in this photo ... and the closer ones disappear in the bright haze illuminated by the Jovian glow. Through my scope the dark bands can be clearly seen. If you're a sky-watcher, this week is a great time to look up!

It would take more knowledge than I have to say for sure which moon should go by which name. After all, one may appear close, but really be at a greater distance from Jupiter. Wouldn't it be fun to watch hour after hour, night after night, until one knew which was the inner, and which the outer, moon?

And, if you're an early riser ... Mercury is making one of only two appearances this year about a half-hour before sunrise, seen right where the sun will soon rise, visible even after all the stars have been obscured by the brightening morning sky. I'm not much of a morning person, so you'll have to tell me about it!


Anonymous said...

Love the moon photo. Is Jupiter the 'bright spot' low in the western sky?

Cynthia said...

Impressive images captured with your new camera! Thanks for sharing them. It's been fun to watch Jupiter rise in near proximity to the full moon.