Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Celestial event and photo op

Following information was derived from an email we received.

There is a rare celestial event currently visible in the early evening. Very close to the crescent moon you can see both Venus and Jupiter. The moon will, of course, be brightest followed by Venus and then Jupiter. Look to the southwest, near the hoizion. This was first visible, I believe, on Monday evening; and this should be visible the rest of this week. Only problem is, it has been cloudy here in New Jersey this week. This particular alignment will not occur again until November, 2052.

Some technical information in the email. "One neat thing about this is to think VERY three-dimensionally, and understand that the plane of Jupiter and Venus is the same plane that the Earth is on. And you can sense that the earth must be tipped away from the sun on that plane, as it is, being near to the winter Solstice. And further (appropriate word) you can grasp that Venus is not so far away, given its relationship to Earth and the Sun, but for Jupiter to be visible in that alignment is impressive, as it is all the way over on the other side of the solar system."

Now consider this for a photo opportunity using a timed exposure to get the heavenly bodies. Again from the email. "Imagine recording a twilight silhouette photo the next couple of evenings of an idling SD or Dash-9 (or signal bridge) with these celestial bodies looming above them?! Won't get that shot again in our lifetimes."