Pages

Text and images © 2009-2017. All Rights Reserved.
No content may be reproduced without written permission.

Nov 24, 2008

Spectacular Conjunction

Nov. 24, 2008: This story ends with the best sky show of the year--a spectacular three-way conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon.

It begins tonight with a sunset stroll.


At the end of the day, when the horizon is turning red and the zenith is cobalt-blue, step outside and look southwest. You'll see Venus and Jupiter beaming side-by-side through the twilight. Glittering Venus is absolutely brilliant and Jupiter is nearly as bright as Venus. Together, they're dynamite:

Above: Venus and Jupiter converging over Hawaii on Nov. 19, 2008.
Photo credit and copyright: Stephen O'Meara. [Larger image]

Add another stick of TNT and voila!—it's tomorrow. Go outside at the same time and look again. You’ll be amazed at how much the Venus-Jupiter gap has closed. The two planets are converging, not in the slow motion typical of heavenly phenomena, but in a headlong rush—almost a full degree (two full Moon widths) per night. As the gap shrinks, the beauty increases.

Nov. 29th (sky map) the two planets will be less than 3 degrees apart and you'll think to yourself "surely it can't get any better than this." And then it will. On Nov. 30th (sky map) a slender 10% crescent Moon leaps up from the horizon to join the show. The delicate crescent...

Read the complete article and see the sky maps: click here Spectacular Conjunction